China’s Digital Quest for Luck: From Virtual Temples to Money Cats

In a dance between tradition and modernity, Chinese millennials and Gen Z turn to virtual platforms, seeking solace and a touch of prosperity

China’s younger generation faced an employment slump last year, with youth unemployment rates soaring to a staggering 21.3% in June, a sharp rise from the 13.17% average in 2022.

Millennials and Money: China’s Spiritual Digital Dive Amidst Economic Turbulenc

To counter these challenging times, China’s millennials and Gen Z are getting creative, resorting to both digital and traditional means to attract some much-needed luck. One trend gaining traction is virtual temple experiences, where users join live streams to burn incense in hopes of enhancing their fortune. With schedules too hectic to make in-person visits, many are embracing this digital pivot, purchasing virtual offerings to participate. According to D-pai, a Chinese media outlet, over half a million lanterns have been virtually lit, though the exact timeframe remains unclear.

In the realm of retail, “fortune-attracting” phone accessories are all the rage. Opportunity from tech professional, shares, “I often grab ‘lucky’ phone covers, adorned with symbols like money cats or even straightforward messages beckoning money.”

As China’s youth unemployment peaks, a curious blend of digital and traditional methods emerges, all in the pursuit of luck

Such symbols, like the Money God from Taoism and popular festivities, are part of everyday visuals, with many younger folks adopting them as a fun nod to prosperity.

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Swipe for Luck: China’s Young Turn to Digital Tokens of Fortune Amidst Job Crunch

The job scarcity has seen many pivot to the gig economy, with over 400,000 individuals becoming drivers between April and July. Yet, the influx has caused certain cities like Shanghai to halt the issuance of new ride permits.

This economic downturn, juxtaposed with the fast-paced digital era, has made millennials and Gen Z seek spiritual solace. Temple visits are witnessing a massive 367% uptick this year, marking the rise of a spiritual economy.

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Virtual spirituality is gaining ground too. Lily Jiang mentions, “There’s a digital counterpart for every traditional ritual. Be it online incense burning, tapping a digital wooden fish, or praying to a digital deity.” An app featuring the wooden fish ritual has clocked in over 600,000 downloads on the Apple App Store.

Douyin, Short “luck” Video

Another online sensation is Guaguale, or “scratch off,” where audiences on Douyin, the popular short video platform, watch people reveal lottery results live. This trend has rocketed lottery ticket sales by 51.6% this year. Sellers are capitalizing on this wave by setting up kiosks at youth hotspots like cinemas and malls.

One amused netizen remarked, “My digital arsenal includes both the wooden fish and the incense burner. Maybe combining them could double my blessings

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From livestreamed temple visits to ‘lucky’ phone accessories, China’s younger generation is devising innovative ways to beckon fortune amidst challenging time

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