A first-of-its-kind Spring Festival market opened in the coastal city of Tianjin on Jan 11, bursting with intangible cultural heritage displays and traders, and ringing in the upcoming Lunar New Year that falls on Jan 22 this year.
Similar events are being held across the country in order to promote the festival spirit and rejuvenate consumption after almost three years of turmoil caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.
Organized by the municipality's Hexi district government and held at the Happy Jin shopping mall, the market features more than 150 varieties of specialty goods recognized as national or local intangible cultural heritage, and 18 time-honored-brand products. Interactive events to boost the festive atmosphere and cultural activities such as folk art dances and calligraphy demonstrations are also being held.
"Ahead of the Lunar New Year, our intangible cultural heritage brands, our nation's history and our culture inspire us with great hope for a better year to come," said Meng Dongmei, deputy director of Hexi. "In the future, we will integrate more elements of intangible cultural heritage into local residents' lives to promote traditional Chinese culture."
Li Lu, president of Tianjin Guifaxiang, a Chinese time-honored brand of snacks that are on sale at the market, said, "Intangible cultural heritage can boost commercial prosperity, and the infusion of culture with commercial activities can help the local market regain its vitality."
Since the recent adjustment of policies related to COVID-19, the city has seen its consumption bounce back.
On Jan 11, the Tianjin government announced plans to issue discount shopping coupons valued at 115 million yuan ($17.1 million) to local residents.
Sun Jiannan, director of the city commerce bureau, said the coupons are expected to drive some 3.3 billion yuan in spending.
In July 2021, the State Council, China's Cabinet, designated Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, to build themselves into "international shopping centers".
Since late December, hundreds of shopping promotions have been launched in Tianjin, and more are in the pipeline, local officials said.