Smog is gone, sky is blue;
The city is empty, the traffic is light. Millions of people have left the Capital of China for their own home town to celebrate the Chinese New Year with their families;
Supermarkets are decked out with the China Red, and filled with seafood, meats, fruits, bakeries, nuts and candies, etc..
The Year of Dog finally arrived, quietly but firmly. It’s quiet because there are no more firework noises during the CNY holiday. Beijing government has banned all the fireworks within the sixth ring in the city, mostly due to the concerns around air pollution.
Beijing is evolving into a different city from what I saw a couple of years ago. Here are a few things that I’ve noticed during the past two weeks:
– Technology. I’m personally astonished by how advanced the society is in terms of the e-Commerce. Most of people including some of the seniors are using their mobile phone to pay for pretty much everything. Each time when I pulled out my wallet and paid the bill with cash or credit card, people would look at me as if I was an alien. You want a flower bouquet for your girlfriend as a happy surprise? no problem! Swipe your phone screen and place an order at a nearby floral store with an easy peasy online money transition, you will get the most beautiful rose bouquet delivered to your door within an hour. You are running out of the detergent while washing your clothes, no problem! Swipe your phone screen and go to JD.com, you will get that Tide delivered in the next 30 minutes. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! 😱
The two major e-Commerce players Alibaba and JingDong have forever and ever changed the life of Chinese. Life becomes faster, quicker, more instant, exciting and satisfying.
– Food culture. Chinese culture includes many festivals, and foods have a great association with it. In Chinese, a single pronunciation can be represented by a lot of word characters. Most of the time people will eat the food that have the same pronunciation as something that symbols good fortune. Nian gao, or the so called year cake, is one of the foods that Chinese have to eat during New Year’s Festival. It is made of steamed glutinous rice. In Chinese “gao” means high and “nian” means year, this dish is a symbolization of getting better, climb to a higher position each year. “Nian” is also the pronunciation for sticking together. Chinese families will eat it while wishing the family will be together forever. However, the tradition like this has gradually diminished. It’s no longer an important thing for Chinese families to eat certain types of food during the festival. Eating whatever you like, eating well and eating healthy is valued more than the traditions.
– Politics. With Chairman Xi being in charge of the country and the army, corruption has become the #1 priority for the government to tackle. Decisions and actions have generated great impact. Corrupted officials are being arrested, one by one, and more to come for sure.
Another big change is that couples are encouraged to have more children. The One Children policy that was implemented since 1977 is abandoned now.
– Price. Yes, price is higher than ever! The real estate market is still hot like fire; the price of a made-in-China dress can easily go up to 2000 RMB (about 400 Canadian dollars). A good bottle of Chinese liquor? Yeah, we are looking at the $200 price tag. Are people still buying despite of the rising price? Of course! How do they make money? They work hard, and work smart. How so? Come to Beijing and you will find the answer by yourself.
– People. The society is becoming younger. People are generally happy and upbeat. They walk fast and talk loud. They are obsessed with their smart phones. They surpassed the credit card phase and went right from the cash & debit card payment method to a purely online payment method. They are proud of being a Beijinger, (including myself), and they are very patriotic.
It’s Beijing time and it’s time to change. Change is inevitable, and change brings opportunities.
Watch out, world! China is coming. 🇨🇳