Country for PR: China
Contributor: Xinhua News Agency
Tuesday, December 12 2023 - 13:21
Night fairs heat up winter consumption in south China
NANNING, China, Dec. 12, 2023 /Xinhua-AsiaNet/--

At 8 p.m., the tantalizing aroma of Cai Zhuocheng's shrimp cakes filled the air 
as they sizzled in the frying pan, enticing late-night diners at "The Night of 

After quitting his job as a salesperson of tech products earlier this year, Cai 
joined the army of street vendors at this bustling night market in Nanning, 
capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

"Consumption has been on the rise as people are venturing out to splurge," said 
Cai, who initially set up the stall, so it could tide him over temporary 
unemployment while he sought a more desirable job.

However, as the profits from his small food stall exceeded 7,000 yuan (about 
987 U.S. dollars) on busy nights, he opted to remain in the bustling market 
street adorned with the aroma of barbecue and stinky tofu.

"Compared with the 9-5 daily routine (of office work), I also find the flexible 
nature of managing a stall is more my speed," said Cai. "I'm now looking for 
new places to scale my venture."

Nighttime economy, referring to business activities between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., 
once again became a trending topic this year as China strives to bolster 
domestic consumption along the post-COVID recovery path.

In particular, such businesses are thriving in many medium-sized cities in 
south China, which boast a slow-paced lifestyle, a vigorous nightlife culture 
and a warmer climate that allows nocturnal revelry to rage into winter.

"The Night of Nanning," for instance, saw over 3 million visitors in the first 
50 days after the night fair opened in January to pool together eateries, 
funfairs and live performances.

Almost a year later, the market, now boasting over 160 shops, continues to 
attract a steady stream of visitors, averaging 12,000 daily during the winter 
months, according to the fair's management.

It is one epitome of the booming nighttime economy of Guangxi, which reached 
930 billion yuan in 2022 and is likely to surpass 1 trillion yuan this year.

Lai Fuqiang, deputy head of Guangxi's culture and tourism department, said 
nearly 200 nighttime activities have been launched in the region in an attempt 
to attract more non-local tourists during winter, when tourists from the north 
flock to Guangxi to savor its warmer weather.

In some cities, the nighttime tourism sector is already in the process of 
blending with distinctive local cultures, tourism and sports.

Liuzhou, an industrial city in Guangxi and the birthplace of the pungent snail 
noodle, has built a neon-lit retro town that features shops where visitors can 
try on ethnic costumes and enjoy a dazzling array of folk culture activities 
after sunset.

With its diverse nighttime offerings, this Yaobu Old Town has burnished its 
image as the paradise for "special forces" tourism, a hip choice among young 
Chinese looking to make the best out of short holiday breaks.

This year, the regional capital Nanning also rolled out night cruise tours 
along the Yongjiang River which runs through the city, gaining popularity among 
newcomers to the town.

"From a vibrant late-night food scene to nighttime commercial and tourism 
clusters, the nighttime tourism sector is heading steadily toward high-quality 
growth," Lai said.

Experts believe that China's nighttime economy is still in a nascent stage with 
much room for growth.

"Currently the sector centers around night tours, night markets and food 
streets, while there is still room for improvement through (nighttime) 
entertainment, sports, exhibitions and performances," said Niu Lei, a 
researcher with the Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences.

Cai, who is working to expand his menu, also feels the urge to upgrade. "It's a 
business with immense potential for growth. But to avoid losing steam in a long 
run, we will have to adapt and diversify," he said. 

Source: The Publicity Department of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region