It’s official, it’s now the year of the Ox! Much like how the transition from 2020 to 2021 in the Western Calendar ushered in hopes of a much better year than the disaster of 2020, the year of the Ox also brings a lot more optimism than 2020’s year of the Rat.

The Rat in the Chinese Zodiac is known for being self serving and mischievous. Which with the benefit of hindsight seems like a very polite way of describing 2020! On the other hand, the Ox is said to be honest, determined and reliable. “It will be better than the previous year, but it’s definitely not going to be perfect,” says Viviana Estrada, a life coach, energy healer and practitioner of Chinese metaphysics in Plantation, Fla.

I don’t know about you, but the change is definitely making us feel more optimistic! However, we all know now that it will be a very long time before the world returns to anything what it was like before we started hearing about a new mystery virus. The way people celebrated Chinese New Year around the world is a great reflection of that.

The Chinese Government had a huge task ahead of them, as Lunar New Year is one of the biggest festivals in China. Just like Thanksgiving in the US, and Christmas in many Western countries, everyone wants to travel home to their families to spend the holiday together. With China facing some resurgences of COVID-19, the Government asked citizens to stay home and connect virtually. And globally, with many borders shut, celebrating Chinese New Year looked very different to previous years.

Here are some great images from the Guardian, and CNN of how people celebrated the festival this year.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Wuhan, China

Jakarta, Indonesia

Bangkok, Thailand

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Singapore

Beijing, China

British Columbia, Canada

 

The pictures globally show virtual events, empty airports and train station in China (almost unheard of prior to 2020), masks, lots of space, very small gatherings with people spaced well apart. Gone are the huge crowds we’re used to seeing at this time of year.

So what’s the overarching theme? Digital, digital, digital! Many Lunar New Year festivals around the global become virtual streaming events, through social media platforms, and video calling friends and family was the new top priority as people couldn’t be together. This is spurring even more growth of smartphones and social media platforms. By the numbers, TradingPlatforms.com is predicting Mainland China will have 1.1B social media users by 2025 – an increase of 19% from 2020!

What lessons can we learn from this? Social media apps and interractions are on the rise. If you have Chinese users or customers in your target audience, you need to factor in how you’re going to reach them. Ringing in Chinese New Year is a great opportunity to start thinking about what you’re going to do to reach this important audience in a world where virtual festivals, closed borders, lack of travel and a general need to communicate online is growing like never before.

WeChat is the number 1 social media app in China and is only being propelled to further growth after the disastrous affects of the Year of the Rat. If you’d like to launch a WeChat strategy, we encourage you to read up on some of our resources including how business are using WeChat, and how to get a WeChat account from overseas. If you’d like our support to launch your WeChat strategy – don’t hesitate to get in touch! Helping businesses build and grow their audiences in China is our bread and butter and we’ve built the WeTools platform with the express goal of making Marketing to a Chinese audience easy and achievable for any global business.

And finally, Gong xi fa cai! May the Year of the Ox bring you wealth, prosperity and a better year than 2020.