Chinese 'gain weight' to support Hubei economic recovery Published: 2020/4/14 6:15:18

People in Central China's Wuhan enjoy themselves after the city's 76-day lockdown ends. Photo: Li Hao/GT

"I will gain three jin [1.5 kilograms] for Hubei." "I don't have medical skills, but I'm number one in placing orders." "Let's buy up all Hubei products."

These phrases might sound strange to foreign audiences, but they are slogans used by millions of Chinese netizens engaged in a spending spree on Hubei products - everything from noodles to duck necks to rice - to support the provincial economy that was battered hard by the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. 

On Monday, an online sales promotion hosted by shopping sensation Wei Ya and Hubei native actress Wu Qian drew over 12.41 million views. While the hostesses tried duck necks and other snacks with local flavors in front of the camera, viewers emptied stockpiles of cash on snack after snack within seconds.

The session was broadcast by People's Daily, parent company of the Global Times, and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group's Taobao. 

It also followed other recent high-profile online promotion events for Hubei products. On Sunday, a session hosted by television news anchor Ouyang Xiadan and actor Wang Zulan attracted 122 million viewers and sold 40.14 million ($5.69 million).

On Chinese social media, the slogan - "I will put three jin for Hubei," presumably by buying and eating Hubei delicacies - has become a trending topic with nearly 100 million views and over 80,000 comments. 

Feeling the expanding appetite, e-commerce platforms including Alibaba and have stepped up procurement of local products, including oranges and crayfish. 

Alibaba has reportedly procured 1 billion yuan worth of crayfish and 50 million yuan worth of local oranges to sell on its platforms. has reportedly vowed to sell 6 billion yuan worth of crayfish.

Boosting consumption has become the cure to resurrect the virus-hit economy in Hubei as well as the Chinese economy nationwide, as domestic consumption contributes to more than 70 percent of the country's annual GDP growth.

Other than national fiscal and monetary policies aimed at boosting domestic spending, dozens of local governments across the country have recently given away millions in coupons to residents, and local officials have also gone out to eat in restaurants on camera to allay safety concerns among the public as well as promote local businesses. 

Beyond the economic side, many view such efforts as a way to show support and solidarity in the battle against the virus. For example, with the slogan, "I don't have medical skills, but I'm number one in placing orders," many pay their tributes to the medical workers who were on the frontline during the outbreak.  


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