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21 million people walked less than 100 steps in a day during China’s Golden Week holiday

Travel abroad or stay at home? Data from apps like WeChat reveal how Chinese people spent their holiday

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

Early fall is a great time to travel, but be prepared to drown in a sea of tourists if you visit China during Golden Week, the annual holiday around National Day.

This year, 726 million tourists -- half the country’s population -- poured into domestic attractions during the week of October 1st, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

But what if you don’t want to join the crowd? Well, of the other half, a small number traveled abroad… and the rest stayed home, taking advantage of apps and services to remain curled up at home.

Just 7 million Chinese tourists travelled overseas during Golden Week, just 0.5% of its massive population.

Destinations within a four-hour flight from China -- such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and South Korean -- remain popular. But Europe has emerged as a new favorite for sightseers and shoppers, according to Alibaba’s travel booking site Alitrip.

(Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba.)

Online travel agency Tuniu says long-haul travelers preferred France, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany.

And those tourists are increasingly paying the same way they’d pay at home: WeChat Pay and Alipay are available in over 20 countries now. Alipay says there were over twice as many in-store transactions this year as last year.


Meanwhile, many chose to spend the holiday by staying at home.

Everyone enjoys a good staycation, but some took this to a whole new level: 21 million WeChat users walked fewer than 100 steps a day, according to data from the app’s step counter, WeRun.

WeChat, the app that does everything

And apps and services helped people stay home and do as little as possible over the holiday.

Alibaba’s shopping site, TMall, sold seven times as much prepackaged food during Golden Week as the year before. Hairy crabs, a Chinese delicacy only available in the fall, sold three times better than last year.

Chinese shoppers love food delivery so much that they’re even getting it when they’re not at home. Thousands of people reportedly had food delivered to tourist sites -- proving that maybe you don’t have to choose between seeing the sights or the comforts of home.

For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters, subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast, and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report. Also roam China Tech City, an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus.