lørdag 30. oktober 2021

Why Chinese influencers are flocking to a Costco in Shanghai (and no, it's not for the discounts)

A girl wearing a green varsity jacket sits with her feet up inside a shopping cart in an empty parking lot; a group of friends in sunglasses hold up pizzas and cokes; another girl in a baseball cap poses on a lawn at dusk, looking back at her long shadow on the grass. These photos, which are trending on Chinese social media, all have one thing in common -- a big "Costco wholesale" logo featured prominently in the background, often against a deep blue sky.

The American retailer, which opened its first China store in Shanghai to massive crowds in 2019, has become an unlikely destination for Chinese influencers. But it's not the store's discounted bulk items that's attracting them; instead they are drawn to what they consider to be its "California vibe."

For nearly two years, most people in China have been unable to travel abroad, due to the country's stringent and unrelenting Covid-19 border restrictions: outbound flights are limited, quarantine upon reentry is harsh and lengthy, and Chinese authorities have ceased issuing or renewing passports for all but essential travel.