Top searches in China: Jay Chou's new single; Unmelt ice cream; COVID resurgence
In reaction to the brand's drama, customers online gave Zhong Xue Gao a derogatory nickname -- ice cream assassin
Today's newsletter is about the top 10 searches on China's social media WeChat. The biggest star of the day is "King of Mandpop" Jay Chou. Fans were so excited about his new album, which is six years away from his last release. They believed that Chou would bring them memorable songs, as he did for over 20 years. However, some commentators suggest that Chou staying on top after all these years also reflects the lack of new superstars in China's music industry.
Fire-proof ice creams are also causing heated discussion on social media. China Newsweek reported that a product from Zhong Xue Gao, a popular but controversial brand, cannot melt even when you burn it with a lighter. The brand promoted itself as the "Hermes of ice cream" and the price is way higher than the average level. It turns out that customers will hardly buy the advertising if the safety of the product is in question.
More updates on COVID-19 resurgence in Jiangsu, Shanghai, and Anhui. The local government of the city of Wuxi, in east China's Jiangsu Province, apologized for stamping people after the COVID-19 test. More COVID cases are spotted in Shanghai. Hopefully, the current measures will be enough as the city gradually reopens. East China's Anhui Province is struggling to fight this round of epidemic, and there might be glimmers of hope.
Please note the top 10 topics were not selected by GRR, but from the real-time report from Wechat Search.
GRR's word of the day is ice cream assassin (雪糕刺客 xuě gāo cì kè)
It's a nickname given to overpriced ice cream brands in China. Imagine that you walk in a supermarket on a sweltering summer day and pick out an ice cream randomly. However, at the check-out counter, you find out the price is unreasonably expensive, it feels like being stabbed in the stomach by an assassin or a bucket of cold water pouring down, which gives you a sarcastic cooling effect before you take a bite of the ice cream.
Zhong Xue Gao, the high-end ice cream brand in today's story, has been called by "ice cream assassin" by customers.
Subscribe for free to get a glimpse into the priorities of both the leadership and the general public in China.
Wednesday's top 10 trending searches on Wechat as of 5:00 p.m. (0900 GMT):
#1 Jay Chou's new album title track music video online
#2 Ice cream does not melt even after burning and the brand responded: production is legitimate
#3 Getting stamped after nucleic acid tests? The neighborhood apologized
#4 Shanghai reported 9 confirmed, 15 asymptomatic COVID-19 cases
#5 From a relative of the murdered girl: the bachelor envied the girl's high score
An 18-year-old girl was murdered near home in a village in central China's Henan Province. The murderer was an unmarried old man living in the same village. The local police arrested the killer on Monday soon after the victim's body was found. A relative of the girl speculated that the killer's motive might be envy of the girl's college entrance examination score. The girl was planning to go to college before the murder. Netizens are furious about the murder and feel sorry for the girl.
#6 Tangshan launched the "one buy a house, the whole family help" policy
Tangshan Housing Provident Fund Management Center on Tuesday launched a new policy called "one buy a house, the whole family help". The details of the policy include: For single citizens in the city of Tangshan, if they take out a mortgage on a house or an apartment, their parents can be co-payers to provide financial assistance. For married citizens, the couple's parents can be co-payers.
#7 The secret of suppliers selling tablets worth 5,800 yuan each (around 860 U.S. dollars) unveiled
A recent report shows that a middle school in Pu'er city in southwest China's Yunnan Province demanded students to buy tablets worth 5800 yuan each, which is believed to be overpricing. The school has refunded all illegal fees of 2,444,600 yuan to 719 students. The supplier of tablets in the incident is a company based in east China's Jiangxi Province. The company had also won the bid for programs for more than 60 schools.
#8 The risk of epidemic transmission in Sixian County of eastern China's Anhui province is generally controllable
#9 Rusty Eiffel tower needs full repair -- Reuters
#10 The euro plunged and U.S. oil plummeted by more than 8 percent -- The Washington Post
#1 Jay Chou's new album title song music video online
Chinese Mandpop star Jay Chou shared the music video of his new album's title track on Wednesday. The video for his new single Greatest Works Of Art was shot in Paris, featuring Chinese pianist Lang Lang.
On Kwai, a Chinese short video platform, the number of likes exceeded one million in 1 hour after the release of the video, the number of likes exceeded 2.5 million in three hours, and the number of plays topped 100 million by three p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.
It has been six years since Chou released his last album, so everyone is eager to see his new work. Jay Chou is probably the most popular singer in China in 20 years. Dubbed "King of Mandpop", Chou has sold over 30 million records, making him one of the best-selling artists in China.
An interesting comment by a netizen today: Jay Chou released his eponymous debut album in 2000 (Jay). Starting then, he has become the super idol of many Chinese. When Chou made his debut, it was about 22 years from the reform and opening up (1978). Today we look back at young Chou at the beginning of the new millennium, just like in 2000, we looked back at the beginning of the reform and opening up. What a journey!
#2 Ice cream does not melt even after burning and the brand responded
China's high-end Ice cream brand Zhong Xue Gao (Chicecream) made headlines on all the popular Chinese social media in recent days. Customers question whether its ingredients are safe or not, as a viral video shows that the ice cream cannot melt even when burnt with a lighter. A few days ago, customers just found that the brand's ice cream would not melt after one hour at 31 ºC (88 ºF).
China’s ‘Hermes of ice cream’ does not melt at high temperatures or when exposed to fire, so customers ask: what’s in it? -- South China Morning Post
A luxury Chinese ice-cream brand is at the centre of controversy after revelations that its products do not melt in hot temperatures or when exposed to fire prompting questions about what is in its products.
Earlier this week, a viral short video clip showed an internet user testing a Zhong Xue Gao brand ice cream by burning part of it with a lighter and showing that it does not melt, China News Service reported.
In the video, smoke soon appeared after the ice cream touched the fire and the scent of burnt food, according to the report.
The footage was released after another social media post claimed that the brand’s baysalt coconut flavour ice cream did not melt at a temperature of 31 degrees after more than 50 minutes. The video, viewed 500 million times on Weibo, showed the ice cream stayed in a sticky state, rather than melting into liquid as normal ice cream would.
The brand responded quickly on its Weibo account on Wednesday, stating that the food additives the company used, including Carrageenan, the thicker causing the ice cream not to melt, are all in line with national standards.
All ice cream melts, there isn't a completely heat-resistant ice cream, declared the company, adding that the main ingredients used for the ice cream is milk and thin cream, which makes up about 40 percent of the solid content, and that no other water has been included, except a small amount contained in the raw material itself. "An ice cream made with a high proportion of solids and very little water will naturally thicken when completely melted and will not turn to a puddle of liquid in any case," said the spokesperson of the company. The company also added on Monday that in order to maintain the good flavor and shape of the product, it only uses a very small amount of food emulsification thickener, which is added in strict accordance with the relevant national standards and can be safely eaten. -- Global Times
However, netizens on social media do not buy it, customers are still angry over food safety issues and Zhong Xue Gao's exorbitant price. This is not the first time the brand finds itself in the storm eye of public critics.
Last year, one of its founders said in an interview "The most expensive one we sold was 66 yuan, but the cost was around 40 yuan. We go with this price whether you buy it or not." The arrogant remarks pissed off many customers, and the brand apologized in the end.
The brand has also been fined for false advertising multiple times in recent years.
In reaction to the brand's drama, customers online gave Zhong Xue Gao a derogatory nickname -- "雪糕刺客" ice cream assassin, meaning that if you accidentally buy one of these ice creams in supermarkets, you would feel stabbed by the unreasonable price.
Netizens call for "ice cream freedom", in the wake of the not melting event. People are reminiscent of tasty, safe, and cheap ice creams they had in childhood.
People's Daily Online commented on Weibo that in the perception of the general public, ice cream should still be classified as a mass consumer goods rather than high-end consumer goods. For enterprises, having all sorts of concepts and gimmicks of marketing is far from enough, consumer tastes will change, the market is rapidly changing and only the fittest will survive.
It adds that the quality of the product and consumer experience is the core factor that determines how far a brand will go.
#3, #4 and #8 COVID resurgence
The fight against COVID-19 is still going on. Recently, a picture of a stamped hand went viral. According to information on social media, the stamps were given to those who finished nucleic acid tests and just had their health codes turned from yellow to green. It is said that the stamp must be kept for three days. The event happened in a neighborhood in the city of Wuxi in Jiangsu, an eastern-central province in China.
The neighborhood's health service center later issued an apology, admitting that that work was done in a reckless and ill-considered way. They apologized for the confusion and inconvenience brought by the stamp and would never let a similar event happen again.
After the nucleic acid tests, hands got stamped. Epidemic prevention can not offend the dignity of residents - The Beijing News
From the point of view of the general public, when a person has to be stamped by others to "show his innocence" without violating the epidemic prevention regulations, it is inevitable that this will bring some discomfort to people's hearts, which is an important reason why this matter is widely controversial.
Putting this matter aside, in daily life, some grassroots officials occasionally come up with some "new tricks" to improve the efficiency of epidemic prevention. I believe the public will be happy to cooperate with these "new measures" if they are based on the premise of mutual respect. If people feel offended in the process of implementation, it will obviously bring negative social effects and deviate from the original intent of the policy. The logic of this behavior obviously deserves a deep reflection by those who are concerned.
This is also a warning to epidemic prevention departments in the country. that the makers and executors of epidemic prevention policies must be humid and hold basic respect for individuals, regardless of the scenario. It should be clear that every policy must be introduced on the basic premise of respecting people. It must let the public feel warm. Otherwise, it will undoubtedly cause a backlash in public opinion.
And some updates on Shanghai. The metropolis just started to resume normal order of work and life from June 1st.
Shanghai reported on Tuesday nine confirmed and 15 asymptomatic local COVID-19 cases. All the cases are spotted in "closed-loop management", the municipal health commission said on Wednesday.
Shanghai to conduct mass COVID-19 testing as new cases reported -- Xinhua
Shanghai will conduct mass nucleic acid testing from Tuesday to Thursday in areas related to recent local COVID-19 cases, municipal authorities said on Tuesday.
The city, which has 16 districts in total, will conduct health screening in all areas of nine districts: Huangpu, Xuhui, Changning, Jing'an, Putuo, Hongkou, Yangpu, Minhang and Baoshan. Testing will also take place in parts of the Pudong New Area, Jiading District and Fengxian District.
People in related areas should take at least two nucleic acid tests with an interval of at least 24 hours from Tuesday to Thursday, according to the municipal leading group on COVID-19 prevention and control.
For all residents in Shanghai to take public transport or enter public places, they must have a negative nucleic acid test within 72 hours, or a sampling registration within 24 hours. People in Shanghai now can do free nucleic acid tests conveniently in the make-shift testing booths which scatter all over the city.
Anhui Province has been under COVID-19 attack in recent days. But according to the Sixian County government's letter to the public on Tuesday, the proportion of positive cases in society showed a significant downward trend, and the risk of epidemic transmission was generally controllable.
China's Anhui reports 81 confirmed, 141 asymptomatic local COVID-19 cases -- Xinhua
East China's Anhui Province reported 81 locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases and 141 local asymptomatic carriers on Tuesday, the provincial health commission said Wednesday.
The new confirmed cases were reported in Sixian County and Lingbi County under Suzhou City.
From June 26 to July 5, a total of 267 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including one from overseas, and 1,002 asymptomatic carriers had been logged in the latest epidemic resurgence in Anhui.
Highly contagious Omicron variants make the fight against the virus resemble a game of Whac-A-Mole, one place is getting better, the other witnesses cases rise, which is indeed frustrating. Everyone longs for a COVID-free life. Just keep faith, we will get there.
To help make GRR sustainable, please consider buy me a coffee or pay me via Paypal. Thank you for your support!