Beer deliveries surge on World Cup opening day as Chinese football fans cheer on other teams

Chinese fans have lots of teams to choose from to support after the national team failed to qualify for the tournament

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 June, 2018, 4:51pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 June, 2018, 4:51pm

Chinese football fans cheered as Russia thrashed Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the World Cup by quaffing lots of beer and devouring a lot of crustaceans.

Orders placed through the Meituan delivery app surged 40 per cent in the 15 minutes before the whistle on Thursday evening. By the end of the night, 280,000 bottles of beer were delivered, accompanied by 1.53 million crayfish, which are in season.

To cater to the expected surge in demand for takeout during the World Cup, which runs until July 15 when the final match takes place, Meituan will run promotions for items such as barbecue skewers, pizza and fried chicken.

The company said it will have riders in 24-hour shifts during the World Cup period to ensure non-stop food delivery services due to the time difference with Russia, where the event is held, according to a Meituan spokesman.

Alibaba Group’s food delivery services on Ele.me, its Tmall platform and Hema supermarkets, are also running similar promotions.

Chinese fans will have lots of teams to choose from to support without a conflict of interest. China failed to qualify for the quadrennial tournament and won’t feature among the 32 teams competing for football’s biggest prize.

Some other fun facts: delivery orders in Qingdao, the city that gave the world Tsingtao beer, jumped 85 per cent on opening day, ranking it the first among cities in China. Urumqi, Kunming and Shenyang also ranked high among places that saw a spike in demand.

But it’s not all hedonistic drinking or eating. Orders for tonic soups also increased. Durian cake orders jumped 75 per cent, iced fruit jelly jumped 53 per cent, while butter cake rose 49 per cent. Fermented toufu, infamous for its pungent smell, increased 37 per cent.

Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.