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A growing number of people are eating alone, whether at home or in restaurants, and overturning traditional etiquette. Zhang Yangfei reports.
In China, food has always played a major role in promoting social cohesion. Communal eating is not on
ly familybased and deeply rooted in the nation’s cultural heritage, but is also regarded as an indicator of society’s health and stability.
Given that background, it is little wonder that eating alone, publicly or privately, has long been considered taboo.
However, in recent years things have started to change as a r
esult of demographic shifts and the growing influence of modern lifestyles.
According to a report released last year by the global market researcher
Kantar, 46 percent of people interviewed said they had eaten alone in the previous 24 ho
urs, a rise of 9 percent from 2017, and about 16 percent expressed a preference for eating solo.
ople. However, neither the US nor China can expect to keep, much less get back, low-wage, low-skilled manufacturing jobs.
Many people have the impression that Chinese goods are dominant in US markets. That is true only in a few highly com
petitive, low-profit sectors. According to US Commerce Department data, China has more than 50 percent of the
US market in such items as umbrellas, toys, prepared feathers, footwear, straw products, and bedding.
Chinese exporters have from 20 to 50 percent of the US market in ot
her low-value-added markets, plus electrical machinery and equipment, mechanical app
liances, and iron and steel. In most other categories, China has less than 20 percent of the US market.
China also assembles and then exports a lot of phones, computers and other gad
gets to the US. But, most of the profits and wages go to Japanese or South Korean componen
World Trade Organization was being negotiated, China’s economy was ti
ny as a portion of world GDP. It was clearly a poor, less-developed country that, except in a f
ew areas, was not able to compete with Western companies in high-value-added products.
As Alexander Hamilton, the first US Treasury secretary, argued, a developing country may need to p
rotect its “infant industries” from already established foreign competitors. This was the policy foll
owed by the US in the 19th century and by Western Europe, Japan, and South Korea in the years after World War II.
China is no longer a poor country. It can no longer compete by using low-wa
ge labor. Fortunately, it has now developed world-class companies that are incre
asingly developing new products and services that can compete successfully in many foreign markets.
The rise in both pet ownership and travel is inIn 2018, the pet market was w
orth 172.2 billion yuan, more than triple that of 2013,” said Neil Wang, president of con
sultancy Frost & Sullivan. “Of which, the dog market was 98.5 billion yuan and for cats it was 60.2 billion yuan.”
According to Frost & Sullivan’s research, services counted for about 15 percent of the pet dog and cat market, totaling 24.1 billion yuan.
As pet hotel services are in hot demand, the industry has been upgrading to assure pet owners
of the safety of their four-legged friends. And some business owners such as Li have taken things a step
further, making sure that it’s not only the owners who are happy, but the pets, as well.
Li said many pet owners worry that there is no comfortable place for their best friends to stay.
“Traditional pet centers can harm pets by keeping them in spaces that are too small, especially big breeds, which can’t even tu
rn around,” she said. “Pets can also see guests going in and out of the facility, and that can frighten them, as well.creasin
m revenue last year, up 13.5 percent year-on-year. Out of it, 447.7 billion yuan was contributed by 340 million passenger trips by domestic travelers.
Shanghai’s abundant cultural and tourism resources, its high lev
el of internationalization, convenient public transportation, fine public service, rapi
dly improving level of intelligent urban infrastructure are attracting travelers from home and abroad, said He.
Last year, 135 products sought official recognition to be sold as city souvenirs. Only 43 made
it to the shortlist, out of which 24 were eventually selected as they featured distinctive Shanghai elements.
Many of the products are made by time-honored brands including White Rabbit creamy candy, Park Hotel’s butterfly cooki
es, local patisserie Xing Hua Lou’s sweetened bean paste moon cake, Bee & Flower sandalwood soap, Liushen Fl
orida Water, as well as Shanghai Museum’s creative jewelry box, silk scarves, teacup sets and table flags.