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Innovation helps conquer boredom at home

By WANG QIAN | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-02-14 08:55
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Wu Yucan does a spinning workout at her home in Chongqing on Feb 6. WANG QUANCHAO/XINHUA

With plenty of time at home on his hands during the extended Spring Festival break, Leng Yang came up with an innovative idea involving the use of shells from popular Lunar New Year snacks such as pistachios and almonds, along with sunflower seeds.

The 30-year-old designer from Weifang, Shandong province, spent three days making a figure of Mickey Mouse. A video of him putting the artwork together has been viewed more than 100 million times online.

Leng said on the video: "Give shells a new lease on life. Salute to the Year of the Rat," adding that he decided to make the figure in an attempt to beat boredom.

He was unable to meet friends over Spring Festival due to the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, but chose to share his work with millions of netizens on social media platforms such as Sina Weibo and Douyin.

Inspired by his efforts, many kindergarten students have been asked by their teachers to use shells to create such figures.

Leng is not the only one to come up with creative ways to pass the time during the outbreak.

Cheng Dadu, from Xi'an, Shaanxi province, who enjoys running marathons, posted footage on Weibo of himself running barefoot for 10 hours in his living room. Since Jan 30, he has run about 100 kilometers every day indoors.

"Staying at home and keeping healthy are the best ways to fight the virus," he said.

As of Wednesday, the hashtag "Innovative ways to combat boredom at home" had been viewed more than 300 million times on Weibo.

As people have had limited contact with friends and neighbors, the use of cyberspace has surged.

As former Morgan Stanley employee Duncan Clark writes in his book Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built, "SARS validated digital mobile telephony and the internet, and so came to represent the turning point when the internet emerged as a truly mass medium in China."

In 2003, when the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in China had been brought under control, e-commerce platforms Taobao and JD were launched along with Tencent's QQ Game. They all grew to become internet giants.

Industry experts estimate that the ongoing outbreak will result in another internet boom.

On Feb 3, at a news conference on the economic impact of the outbreak, Lian Weiliang, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said, "Online entertainment and shopping remain very active."

Wang Jianhui, a media and internet analyst at Cinda Securities, said," During the outbreak, the online entertainment sector-dominated by games and streaming services-has seen a welcome boom."

In addition to the lockdown in Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, the central government has imposed preventive measures in metropolitan areas such as Beijing and Shanghai as well as other populous areas. Public celebrations nationwide have been canceled.

With the government suggesting that people stay at home to avoid further spreading the virus, lifestyles have moved increasingly from offline to online.

In June, the number of netizens in China reached 854 million, accounting for 61.2 percent of the population, according to a report from the China Internet Network Information Center.

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