Visitors walk past ice sculptures at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, 24 December 2023. (Liz Lee/Reuters)

[Video] China's Harbin pampering visitors to win tourism battle

Harbin has seen an explosion of tourists this Chinese New Year season, and it is pulling out all the stops to welcome them, sometimes to the chagrin of locals. However, can this wave of tourism be sustained, and improve Harbin’s economy? Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Daryl Lim takes a trip to China’s land of snow and ice.
A God of Fortune distributes hongbaos to visitors at Liandao Scenic Area in Lianyungang city, Jiangsu province, on 14 February 2024. (Xinhua)

Rising hongbao rates are putting pressure on Chinese youths

As China’s tradition of giving red packets or hongbaos during festive occasions puts young people under pressure, they are pushing back by giving fewer hongbaos or none at all, hoping that their refusal to conform will help to bring the focus back to the sentiment behind the giving.
Villagers sell agricultural products on train, Guizhou province, China, on 25-27 January 2024. (Screen grab from CCTV)

[Video] Farmers’ markets on China's 'slow trains': Going places

In today’s fast-paced world, China's “slow trains” remain essential. They stop at many otherwise inaccessible areas, providing transport for rural residents and a means for them to bring their agricultural products to nearby towns. Designated cabins on the train turn into makeshift farmers' markets, especially in the run-up to Chinese New Year.
Pedestrians at the Dongmen Old Street shopping area in Shenzhen, China, on 18 January 2024. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China's youths seek divorce and retirement buddies in uncertain times

As youths in China come into their own, they are finding their own ways to make connections. The latest trend is seeking activity buddies, or dazi culture, which offers companionship based on common interests and needs.
Customers wait outside a restaurant at a shopping mall in Shenzhen, China, on 19 January 2024. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Hong Kongers flock to Shenzhen for value-for-money CNY reunion dinners

As the Chinese New Year approaches, many Hong Kongers have the tradition of travelling to Shenzhen to enjoy reunion dinners at lower cost with better service compared with back home. Lianhe Zaobao journalist Daryl Lim speaks with diners and restaurant managers to find out more about this trend during the festive season.
People walk outside Grand Central Terminal in New York on 26 January 2024. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

US elite schools churning out 'perfect followers', not change makers?

Commentator Wu Guo notes how Ivy League schools in the US have churned out people who are academically brilliant, but unable to connect with real life or relate to real issues around them. Such indifference is symptomatic of US elites from top backgrounds.
Pedestrians cross a street in the Central district in Hong Kong, China, on 20 November 2023. (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

[Big read] Has Hong Kong attracted top talents with its one-year-old Top Talent Pass Scheme?

The talent crunch in recent years prompted the local authorities in Hong Kong to launch the Top Talent Pass Scheme (TTPS) at the end of 2022. At the first anniversary of Hong Kong’s all-out talent grab, opinions remain divided as to whether the TTPS can successfully boost Hong Kong’s competitiveness and attract talent who stay for the long term.
People shopping at the new Costco store in Shenzhen, China.

Rise of warehouse stores in China as consumers opt for low-cost bulk buying

Warehouse stores were the preferred shopping format for Chinese consumers during the pandemic due to the vast space ideal for social distancing and the low cost for bulk items needed to reduce the number of trips outside. However, even with the end of the pandemic, this consumer trend remains. Lianhe Zaobao journalist Daryl Lim looks into the matter.
A shot of people on escalators at an urban shopping mall in Hong Kong. (iStock)

[Big read] Golden passports, visas and residential permits: How the wealthy go places

Lianhe Zaobao senior correspondent Poh Lay Hoon takes a closer look at "golden passports" (passports in return for investment) market, including the popular countries to seek these passports, the cost of becoming a citizen of a foreign country, the impact it has on the people of the country issuing such passports, as well as whether money laundering has had an impact on the investment immigration business.