Online tourist consumption booms

China’s online travel sector has experienced a boom thanks to the burgeoning development of advanced technologies, with total consumption reaching the trillion-yuan level.

“Internet plus”, which has become a new mode of travel and a new engine for smart tourism, will speed up ecological integration and innovation in the tourism industry and bring more opportunities for the management and smart marketing of tourism, according to a report recently released by the China Tourism Academy.

A tourist takes photos of an ice cream in the shape of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, capital of China, May 4, 2021. Official data showed 230 million domestic tourist trips were made during the five-day Labor Day holiday, up 119.7 percent from last year. (Xinhua/Ju Huanzong)

During this year’s Labor Day holiday, various tourist attractions across the country ensured that their admission tickets could be booked via online platforms in order to stagger visitors so they came at different times and better control the pandemic.

Online reservation systems allow tourist destinations to carry out reception work in a more orderly manner, and tourists to plan their itineraries more reasonably, thus effectively optimizing tourism quality, explained Bai Kai, director of the tourism department of Shaanxi Normal University.

At the same time, it has become common practice for scenic areas to monitor data such as the number of appointments, daily number of tourists received and instantaneous carrying capacity through big data platforms.

For instance, Xiandu Scenic Area in Jinyun county, east China’s Zhejiang province, has installed 400 cameras to detect traffic density, prevent the concentration of too many tourists in a single spot and optimize their visiting experience.

“At present, the best example of smart tourism can be reflected in the analysis, research and application of the flow of people via big data,” said Dai Xuefeng, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Dai pointed out that through the analysis of subdivided data such as tourists’ moving trajectory, consumption tendency and service preferences, scenic areas can enrich their products, provide more targeted services and improve their management.

An intelligent tourism platform launched by southwest China’s Guizhou province serves as a good example of these efforts. By utilizing technologies including big data, 5G live streaming and blockchain, the tourist platform offers a variety of tourist information and product services, ranging from A-grade scenic areas and hotels to catering and travel tips.

Furthermore, live streaming is also being utilized to boost tourists’ offline consumption. In 2020 alone, more than 40,000 tourism-themed live streaming activities were conducted via Weibo, China’s main social media platform for microblogging, garnering over 2 billion views.

“Digital technology can help optimize tourists’ experience,” said Pan Helin, executive dean of the Digital Economy Research Institute of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, explaining that this technology can push forward the integration of culture and tourism, thus making the sector more innovative.

Innovation makes air conditioners greener

Photo shows a low-carbon smart home system of Gree, a major Chinese appliance manufacturer. (Photo/Official Weibo account of Gree)

Air conditioners are a necessity for many to get through the scorching heat in the summer. However, apart from cooling down the air around us, they are also affecting the temperature of the planet Earth.

According to the UN Environment Program, half of the energy consumption of the buildings in the world comes from cooling and heating systems.

How to make air conditioning greener and more efficient has become an unavoidable topic for the refrigeration industry in today’s world where the growing demand for air conditioning and climate change are posing a dilemma.

China will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. It is a major strategic decision made by the country to build a community with a shared future for mankind and achieve sustainable development, as well as a solemn promise China makes to the world.

The next five years is critical for China to peak carbon dioxide emission. For energy sectors, it means both feeding more clean energy at the supply side and upgrading the ways of energy consumption and improving energy use efficiency at the client side.

Statistics indicated that refrigeration accounts for over 15 percent of China’s total power consumption, and air conditioners in large- and medium-sized cities contribute 60 percent of electrical load during peak summer months. As a result, a low-carbon reform in the manufacturing sector is imperative, and there is much to be explored.

Technological advances, especially new breakthroughs in core technologies, to a large extent decide how much the manufacturing sector can contribute to emission peak and carbon neutrality.

Chinese appliance manufacturer Gree and Tsinghua University have jointly developed a technology that is able to cut 85.7 percent of energy consumption in air conditioning. The technology was recently awarded a grand prize at the award ceremony of the Global Cooling Prize, which was signed up by 2,100 competing teams from nearly 100 countries and aims to explore breakthrough innovative technology in the refrigeration industry to solve climate challenges.

It is estimated that the cooling technology, once massively employed, could possibly reduce carbon emission by 100 billion tons by 2050, equivalent to the amount of carbon absorbed by 116 billion trees in 100 years.

Responding to global climate change is a common challenge and task facing all countries. China has always been a major participant, contributor, and champion in building a global ecological civilization.

The Gree-Tsinghua University technology has served over 6,000 projects in the world, marking another contribution of Chinese innovation to the world.

This explains from the side that whoever leads in energy conservation and emission reduction technologies can claim the high ground in global competition as the world tackles climate change and seeks sustainable development.

At present, Chinese industries are speeding up low-carbon transformation, so as to contribute more wisdom, solutions and strength to global energy conservation, emission reduction and green development.

Low-carbon transformation is a systematic project that concerns all links from the supply end to the consumer end. It calls for the firm resolution of industries to tackle challenges, as well as concrete efforts of all consumers.

If everyone can do something to curb global warning, for instance, setting air-conditioners at appropriate temperatures in the summer, choosing energy-efficient products as much as possible, and taking an active part in tree-planting activities, low-carbon development can be made a new fashion, and thus forming a synergy with technological innovation.

Beauty products popular among men

Men’s grooming is becoming an emerging market in China, with the group’s adoption of beauty products already starting to take off.

The country’s male cosmetics market has registered an average annual growth rate of 7.7 percent over the past four years in the country, with the total value of the market standing at about 16.7 billion yuan (about $2.6 billion) last year, according to statistics. The market is expected to exceed 20 billion yuan by 2023.

From May 1 to 3, sales of men’s makeup products soared by 1,692.6 percent year on year in county level cities, indicated statistics from a subsidiary App owned by Alibaba Group’s e-commerce platform Taobao.

According to data released by iiMedia Research, a data mining and analysis organization, stock for imported men’s makeup products during last year’s “Double 11” online shopping festival increased by 3,000 percent year on year. Meanwhile, sales of men’s skin care products jumped roughly 30 percent.

Among them, sales of liquid foundation and eyeliners for men born after 2000 grew twice and four times as fast than those for women, respectively.

In a survey conducted by Alibaba, 18.8 percent of post-95 male respondents said they used BB cream, while 18.6 percent have at some point applied cosmetics such as lipstick and eyeliner.

In addition to makeup products, Chinese men are also increasingly turning to medical aesthetic procedures. A report from iiMedia Research indicated that men accounted for 30 percent of all consumers who went under the knife to improve their physical appearance in 2020.

A young man surnamed Liu in Beijing is one of them. To remove his acne, he became a frequent visitor to an aesthetic medical services provider.

“I was a bit uncomfortable when I first went there for acne treatment. Then I found out that there are many male customers there,” said Liu, further disclosing that “to my surprise, after learning about my treatment, many of my male friends also want to have a try.”

China fuels high-quality economic growth

A primary school student experiences virtual skiing events of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at the 4th Digital China Summit & Exhibition in Fuzhou, southeast China’s Fujian province, April 26, 2021. (People’s Daily Online/Chen Bin)

Digital technologies are vibrantly facilitating China’s high-quality economic progress as a wave of digitalization is arriving at a faster pace.

The country is currently the second largest digital economy in the world, and has established the second largest fiber-optic and 4G networks. By the end of the last year, the GDP portion of the added value of core digital economy industries had hit 7.8 percent.

The prospering digital economy in China was mirrored by the 4th Digital China Summit, held at the end of April in Fuzhou, southeast China’s Fujian province, where a series of digital products were exhibited, including an AI-driven education robot that is able to interact with teachers and students on classes, a prototype smart plant that can help increase productivity, and an autonomous aerial vehicle that is able to carry passengers. Besides, a light show was staged at the event by 1,500 unmanned aerial vehicles which “lit” the sky. They all envisioned a new prospect of China’s digital economy.

Digital economy is regarded as the future of global development, and high-quality development calls for sci-tech innovation and digital transformation to generate new development impetus.

For instance, vein pattern recognition technology allows people to pay and confirm their identities by a simple scan of their palms, and windows of vehicles could be turned into giant touch screens that display all kinds of information when equipped with AI, Internet of Things and 5G technologies. Besides, mobile communication stations that integrate core network, base station and dispatch system functions are playing a vital role in ensuring stable communication for disaster relief missions.

As general-purpose technologies, digital technologies have seeped into various aspects of the economy and society, powering livelihood improvement, social governance and economic progress.

Digital technologies have forcefully pushed economic transformation and upgrading, and made high-quality development more effective.

Driven by digitalization, new business models have constantly emerged in recent years, generating massive new jobs and industries.

In the fight against poverty, Chinese farmers have sold their agricultural products to every corner of the country, and today, mobile phones are a new “farming tool” for them to increase their income.

China’s digital economy registered 39.2 trillion yuan ($6.1 trillion) last year, which made up 38.6 percent of the country’s GDP, according to a report on the country’s digital economy development. Digital economy exceeded one trillion yuan in 13 provinces and municipalities of the country, the report said.

When expanding, digital economy is also releasing huge dividends to benefit the people.

At present, local governments across China are pacing up to digitalize their services. Twenty-one provincial-level and 122 prefecture-level regions across the country have established digital platforms, opening over 98,000 datasets to the public. Amid the COVID-19 epidemic, the Chinese government rolled out a digital health code system that worked as e-passport reporting the real-time health condition of individuals, which realized targeted epidemic prevention and control for around 1.4 billion Chinese. Besides, 24/7 online service platforms that support the handling of all kinds of administrative affairs have been launched by Chinese local governments, connecting and synergizing different government divisions and making possible information sharing among them.

Embracing the digital era, China will unleash the potential of digital production factors, and speed up building a digital economy, society and government, according to the country’s latest economic and social development blueprint, the Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035.

By taking the pulse of the ever-changing trends of big data, sticking to the national big data strategy, developing digital infrastructure, and promoting the integration and sharing of data resources, China will better serve economic and social development and livelihood improvement with digital construction.

China diversifies elder care services

With China faced with a growing aging population, it has been stepping up efforts to provide a more diverse array of elder care services to its silver-haired citizens by integrating homes, communities, and healthcare facilities.

Photo shows seniors having lunch at a canteen offering free lunches to those aged 80 and over in a village in Xiazhuang town, Rongcheng city, east China’s Shandong province. The city operates 363 similar canteens. (Photo/Xinhua)

A vivid example of such efforts is the establishment of home-based elder care centers, where seniors can receive a variety of services that include personal care, consolation, and dining services. Staff dispatched from the centers are also able to provide door-to-door visits to stay-at-home seniors who are being cared for by their family members.

“Many simply think that home-based elder care means that the elderly are cared for by their children and family members, which is one-sided,” said Gao Huajun, executive vice president of the China Philanthropy Research Institute at Beijing Normal University.

Gao explained that stay-at-home seniors also need door-to-door professional care services offered by senior care providers sent from elderly care centers.

The outline for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) proposed to integrate home-based elder care together with communities and professional nursing institutions, said Xie Lili, an associate professor with Renmin University of China.

Photo shows a 91-year-old man holding emergency calling equipment provided to those using home-based care services in Xinhong neighborhood, Minhang district, Shanghai. (Photo/Xinhua)

It indicated that the government is fully aware of the need to give full play to the respective advantages of families, communities, and elder care institutions, Xie said, adding that China will promote the integration of various elder care services moving forward.

Professional nursing institutions are the best option for elderly people living with physical and intellectual disabilities who need access to long-term care, Xie said, noting that China should promote integrated medical and elder care services to meet the needs of these seniors.

Beijing has set up more than 260 old-age care centers that can provide basic services, with these institutions covering more than two-thirds of the city’s neighborhoods and townships.

One of them is the Huafang old-age care center, a nursing home that was jointly established by the Shichahai neighborhood in Beijing and Huafang Old-Age Care Investment Co., Ltd.

Inside the center, there are health care workers and well-trained caregivers who can provide professional services to the elderly, including bathing assistance, haircuts, pedicures, and mental health services, explained Su Guilan, executive director of the center, noting that the center also plays host to a large number of elderly-friendly facilities on site.

“The center offers both round-the-clock and door-to-door old-age care services,” said Su, adding that the civil affairs department subsidizes the center according to the number of beds in use and the specific services provided.

“We used the subsidies to renovate and upgrade our center. Furthermore, government supervision enables our staff members to constantly review their work. With these measures, we can better serve the elderly,” Su observed.

“Elder care services that are accessible for all will become a trend in the future,” Xie Lili pointed out while explaining that social and government resources will be further mobilized to make elder care services more affordable to a larger number of senior citizens.

The number of people aged 60 or above in the country is expected to exceed 300 million-more than 20 percent of the total population-during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, making China a moderately aging society, according to forecasts provided by China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

Meanwhile, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics indicate that there are now 17.8 older persons per 100 working-age persons in the country. China is also home to tens of millions of seniors living with physical and intellectual disabilities.

China paces up for modern energy system

Photo taken on May 5, 2021, shows a photovoltaic power station built on an abandoned mine in Dongshi township, Pingyuan county, Meizhou city, south China’s Guangdong province. (People’s Daily Online/Feng Xiquan)

Attaching great importance to low-carbon energy development, China is actively promoting energy consumption, energy supply, technology and innovation, and institution upgrading.

The country is making multi-faceted efforts to push forward energy revolution for the purpose of building a clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient energy system and improving the capacity to guarantee energy supply, just as projected in China’s new national development blueprint, the Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035.

In March, Taihu electric No. 001, an electric workboat, was launched in Wuxi, east China’s Jiangsu province. It was the first of its kind in the basin of Taihu Lake, China’s third largest freshwater lake. The lithium batteries of the workboat can store as much electricity as the combined amount of electricity of five electric vehicles.

According to preliminary estimates, when all the 1,100 workboats in the Taihu Lake basin become electrified, the transformation from fuel oil-powered boats to electric ones will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 75,000 tonnes a year, which is equivalent to the amount of CO2 discharged by more than 27,000 private cars.

“In the past, the fuel oil-powered workboat would leave an oily track on the surface of the water and the smell of greasy dirt on the shoreside. Now the electric workboat is more powerful and faster, yet it doesn’t leave any pollutants,” said Li Fenglei, a driver of the workboats in the Taihu Lake basin.

Since the beginning of this year, non-fossil energy has been developing more rapidly in China, while the country’s power generation has also seen a relatively fast year-on-year growth.

Based on corresponding data of the same period in 2019, China’s output of electricity generated by wind, solar, and nuclear power plants rose by 17.6 percent, 12.5 percent, and 9.6 percent respectively on average in the first quarter this year from two years ago.

Meanwhile, power supply projects in the country received a total of 79.5 billion yuan (about $12.37 billion) of investment, which represented a 31.3-percent year-on-year growth rate and an average growth rate of 39.9 percent from two years ago. In particular, about 91 percent of the investment was channeled to power generation projects using non-fossil energy.

“Our dining hall and kitchen have stopped using coal or natural gas, and switched to induction cookers, which are safer, produce less lampblack and smoke, and cut our energy consumption cost by half,” said Lai Yong, an executive of a hot pot restaurant in Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan province. Lai is very satisfied with the decision to replace the cooking stoves of the restaurant with induction cookers.

More than 10,000 hot pot restaurants in Chengdu are using electric cooking appliances, accounting for about 70 percent of the total number of hot pot restaurants in the city.

These hot pot restaurants with electric cookers have effectively advanced the development of clean and low-carbon energy of the city, as they consume approximately 837 million kWh of electricity a year, which means they reduce over 710,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions for the city every year.

In fact, many cities in China have taken active measures to promote the replacement of traditional energy with electricity in key sectors and industries, comprehensively improve resource use efficiency and facilitate the country’s energy revolution.

South China’s Guangdong province has come up with the idea of establishing a budget-management system for energy consumption to strictly regulate the launch of energy-intensive projects.

The southern island province of Hainan plans to add 25,000 new energy vehicles (NEVs) to the city, start building a world NEV experience center, and make sure the combined floor area of prefabricated buildings in the province reach 17 million square meters this year.

In addition, Shaanxi province in northwest China is intensifying efforts to promote eco-friendly products, such as NEVs, green building materials, energy-efficient home appliances and efficient lighting products.

Smart restaurants give dining more fun

Smart restaurants, which offer a dining experience characterized by partly automated operations that eliminate the need for human waiters and waitresses, have continued to flourish across China as an up-and-coming business model.

Photo taken on Jan. 15, 2020 shows the dish delivery robot working at a smart restaurant in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Deng Hua)

Since it opened up a smart restaurant in Beijing’s Chaoyang district in 2018, the hotpot restaurant chain Haidilao has garnered even greater acclaim by offering a new unique experience to its patrons.

At the restaurant, processes such as ordering, preparing, cooking and serving food, as well as dining and checking out, are all facilitated through the use of robots and an artificial intelligence-enabled (AI) system.

The intelligent system is also able to identify food items approaching their expiry date and will properly dispose of these items before processing a new order, explained Hu Jie, an R&D manager with Haidilao.

Haidilao is one of the many restaurants in China that has undergone changes in their operations by embracing the latest information technologies and related equipment.

Starting last year, there has been a rising demand for automated systems to promote contactless dining at restaurants, a dining mode that was eagerly sought after to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus virus after the initial outbreak.

To seize upon this new business opportunity, various domestic robot manufacturers, including Siasun, Uditech and Keenon, have become increasingly more engaged in R&D in the area of robotics since last year.

The robots developed by Keenon can perform tasks such as food delivery and clearing empty plates away from the table. They can also avoid obstacles and return to their original position after completing a food delivery run. Moreover, the robotic droids are able to display a QR code to customers for scanning prior to making a payment. All these functions can help to significantly reduce instances of human-to-human contact.

Two Keenon robots are able to serve 20 to 30 tables, as statistics from Keenon showed, while indicating that such an operational arrangement can effectively save labor costs and improve efficiencies. The whole catering industry will become more and more dependent on robotic systems for fulfilling their food delivery needs in the future with an aim to raising efficiencies, lowering costs and guaranteeing food safety, said an executive with Keenon.

Industry insiders believe that compared with traditional dining scenarios, smart restaurants can better guarantee food safety, providing a means for monitoring food safety information and reducing the chance for food contamination from human handlers.

China’s catering industry is becoming more intelligent, with new business scenarios constantly emerging, while the relationship between online and offline channels is becoming even closer, as was pointed out in a report on China’s catering industry development in 2021. Meanwhile, the continued development of the catering industry has also promoted further growth among product manufacturers and service providers, the report added.

An official with the Ministry of Commerce mentioned recently that efforts should be made to accelerate digitalization, smart transformation, and cross-industry collaboration for brick-and-mortar businesses, promoting the development of smart restaurants and working towards deeper integration between online and offline business models.

Digital RMB coming soon to citizens

Photo taken on Feb. 14, 2021, shows an advertisement board for digital RMB at Wangfujing shopping street, Beijing. (People’s Daily Online/Chen Xiaogen)

A Chinese senior citizen surnamed Liu was recently surprised by the convenience of digital RMB, or e-CNY, during a visit to Bo’ao, south China’s Hainan province.

He told People’s Daily that he bumped into a digital RMB promotional activity in the city that was piloting e-currency, and finished payment by simply placing his smart watch on a POS machine.

“This ‘wallet’ came in very handy,” Liu said. He hoped that the new payment method could be applied in China as soon as possible.

A Shanghai resident surnamed Chen, who’s an owner of a vegetable stall at a farm produce market, holds similar points with Liu. “Thanks to digital currency, my daily turnover is automatically saved in my bank account. Besides, it also offers real-time and free transfer of money,” she said.

Digital RMB is essentially a legal currency issued by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank of China, under national credit guarantee. It is digital cash, and completely equivalent to banknotes and coins in terms of value.

At the end of 2019, digital RMB was put in pilot tests in Chinese cities like Shenzhen, Suzhou and Chengdu, Xiong’an New area, a state-level new area in north China’s Hebei province, as well as future scenarios for the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

By October 2020, six more pilot areas were added, including Hainan province, Shanghai, Changsha, Xi’an, Qingdao, and Dalian.

Experts pointed out that digital RMB has attracted wide attention for its convenience and efficiency. It transfers money in real time as there’s no intermediary agency between the payers and payees. Besides, it also works like cash in offline scenarios.

More importantly, digital RMB can better protect the privacy of users as it promises controllable anonymity and denies merchants and third-party platforms the access to consumers’ ID information and payment data.

As a key feature of e-CNY, controllable anonymity not only helps guarantee individuals’ legitimate anonymous transactions and personal information security, but also contributes to preventing, controlling and cracking down on money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion and other illegal and criminal activities for higher level of financial safety, said Mu Changchun, head of the Institute of Digital Money under the PBOC.

With multiple banks in the pilot areas testing the innovative payment method, e-CNY has been applied in a variety of scenarios ranging from catering services and daily payment to shopping and transportation.

It is expected that digital RMB will extend to online businesses like e-commerce and short video platforms, and play a major role in real economy sectors such as corporate trade and supply chain finance.

In the era of digital economy, digital currency boasts huge potential for development, and can help improve the efficiency of economic operation and may even give birth to new business forms and economic models, said Mei Xinyu, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce.

China enjoys many advantages in pushing forward with digital currency, Mei noted, explaining that the country has developed relatively complete infrastructure and payment systems, and electronic payment enjoys high acceptance among Chinese consumers and merchants.

Mei also believes that digital currency will make cross-border settlement more efficient as the COVID-19 epidemic prompts consumers across the world to develop a habit of online shopping and payment.

During the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021, Li Bo, deputy governor of the PBOC, made it clear that the PBOC would focus on the following aspects in its work related to digital RMB, including advancing pilot projects and expanding their scope, further improving the infrastructure of digital RMB and enhancing the security and reliability of relevant systems, and formulating relevant legal and regulatory frameworks.

When asked whether digital currency would replace banknotes and general electronic payment as it gradually becomes mainstreamed, Mu stressed that the issuance of digital RMB is not based on administrative enforcement, but market-oriented, which signifies that paper money, electronic payment, and digital RMB will coexist in the foreseeable future.

Niche cultures see growing market

Nobody would have imagined that niche cultures, such as Han costumes, Lolita fashion and JK uniforms are in fact now favored by far more than a few minor groups on the sidelines, instead propping up a market of around 10 billion yuan ($1.55 billion) today.

In fact, online searches for Han costumes exceed those of T-shirts on e-commerce shopping platforms, and a single JK dress may garner a sales volume of 300,000 units within several days after its initial launch.

Photo shows Hanfu enthusiasts appreciating pear blossoms and sipping tea in Chengdu, southwest China’s Sichuan province. (Xinhua/Liu Mengqi)

“In the past, the number of fans for these cultures and fashions was very limited. However, about two years ago, I began to receive inquiries from a vast number of neophytes,” said Fu Linying, a fan of these types of distinctive clothes and also a vendor of JK uniforms on the online Chinese e-commerce marketplace Taobao.

That was why Fu, who had been studying and working overseas, decided to return to China and start a JK uniform business with her boyfriend in 2019. According to Fu, people aged 17 to 28 are the main target consumers for her online shop.

Last year, Fu rolled out a JK dress design whose color differed from that of ordinary ones. Within a couple of days, over 20,000 units of the dress were sold.

“Most of the girls in my time could only follow trends, but the young girls today have become trend settlers,” Fu said.

Last year, Fu’s store achieved a sales revenue of over 2 million yuan, with the number of followers linking to her store rising to nearly 200,000.

Consumers of these kinds of unique clothing items will usually select and shop for items at one or several stores, and then share their comments and personal feelings about the dresses they purchase from individual stores on the platforms.

“A Lolita outfit costs somewhere between 1,000 yuan to 2,500 yuan,” said Mu Mu, a college student who has a passionate interest in Lolita outfits, adding that she spends over 10,000 yuan on Lolita costumes every year.

She said that Lolita costume fans respect and prefer original designs and will shun any knockoffs, which is why they have become increasingly more loyal to specific brands.

Taobao now has over 1,000 stores like Fu’s. The constant expansion of China’s emerging consumer demand has provided merchants in the niche market with significant room for continued growth. Data from Taobao showed that the number of new active merchants on the platform hit its peak during the period from April 2020 to March 2021 over the past five fiscal years since 2017.