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What's behind the Bing Dwen Dwen's buying frenzy?

By Lin Wei and Sha Yumeng | | Updated: 2022-02-11 14:37
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A worker produces Bing Dwen Dwen merchandise at a licensed manufacturer in Qidong, East China's Jiangsu province, Feb 8, 2022. Bing Dwen Dwen, the mascot for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, has recently become a smash hit. A licensed manufacturer in Qidong has increased production of Bing Dwen Dwen merchandise to ensure adequate supply for the market. [Photo/Xinhua]

In the stadiums, athletes are delightedly posing for photos with Bing Dwen Dwen; on the internet, the hashtag, "No one can reject Bing Dwen Dwen", is going viral; in Qidong, Jiangsu province, factories are broadcasting live ramping up of production of Bing Dwen Dwen. The craze for the cute panda mascot has resulted in such a supply shortage that it is almost impossible to buy one even if you have the money. Now let's delve deeper into the buying frenzy of the Olympic mascot.

Bing Dwen Dwen is a microcosm of the hard-working and industrious Chinese nation. The small mascot tells a great story about perseverance. Bing Dwen Dwen has witnessed the lunar exploration of Chang'e 5 and the Mars mission of Tianwen-1 and seen the accomplishment of China's goal of "getting 300 million people involved in winter sports".

The big rush for Bing Dwen Dwen is a reflection of the rising purchasing power of Chinese consumers, due to China's growing economy and a burgeoning middle class with rapidly rising income. Behind every purchase also indicates their pride in the nation's achievements and their sense of belonging to the nation. Bing Dwen Dwen is in fact an epitome of China's significant development—that is what Chinese are truly enthusiastic about.

As a warm and friendly ambassador, Bing Dwen Dwen welcomes friends from afar. The 2022 Winter Olympics is a stage where athletes from different nations compete and communicate, and Bing Dwen Dwen is its artistic representation. During the Winter Olympics, Bing Dwen Dwen is using its charm to bring international guests "together", as is expressed by the Olympic motto, "Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together".

To offer its hospitality and cater for your different needs, Bing Dwen Dwen turns itself into different shapes—a badge, a pillow, or a blanket. In terms of design, the Bing Dwen Dwen toy wears a full-body shell made of ice, which is inspired by the appearance of a traditional sugar-coated candy fruit treat, bingtanghulu (literally "ice sugar gourd"); it is adorned with a golden wreath which resembles "three durable plants of winter" in Chinese culture—pine, bamboo and plum blossom.

Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games executive director, describes Bing Dwen Dwen as "lively, funny, witty" and "of course full of positive energy". As a work of art, Bing Dwen Dwen speaks an artistic language to explain to the world an important Chinese aesthetic value—harmony between man and nature; it creates an excellent and positive image to express China's faith in a better future for humankind.

While covered in a cool and hard shell of ice, Bing Dwen Dwen spreads love and warmth around the world. The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is a grand meeting and reunion in the midst of hardship of COVID-19. During this special time, the buying frenzy mirrors the Chinese pursuit of harmonious coexistence with nature, given that the mascot is in the motif of a panda. International guests, with their thumbs up to Bing Dwen Dwen, are saying yes to China; they are saying yes to the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

As the Chinese saying goes, "Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors." Behind the "panda" phenomenon is China's enhanced cultural confidence and a grand vision of a harmonious global village.

Lin Wei and Sha Yumeng from Fudan University contributed to this article. 

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