China in 2023: Buzzwords reveal a tapestry of resilience and vibrancy

(People's Daily Online) 10:49, January 09, 2024

Editor’s note:

The annual review of popular phrases has evolved into a cultural phenomenon, marking the end and beginning of each year. These buzzwords clearly depict the year’s language trends, capturing insights into personal experiences, societal shifts, and human growth. They mirror the public’s feelings about major events of the year.

Seeking to describe the lives of Chinese people in 2023, People’s Daily Online has summarized key buzzwords that dominated the social discourse in 2023. These terms offer a glimpse into post-pandemic life in China, showcasing the strength of its economy, the vitality of its consumer market, and the thriving lifestyles of its people.

Generative AI

In 2023, the world was captivated by the advancements in generative artificial intelligence, with chatbots leading the charge as a global technological marvel. Numerous Chinese tech enterprises enthusiastically joined the development of large-scale AI models, unveiling a diverse array of generative AI applications. This technological wave is not only reshaping how people live and work but also providing novel tools and perspectives for innovation and development across various industries.

Robust performance market

Since the start of 2023, China has seen a significant boom in its performance market, marked by strong supply and demand dynamics. Data from the China Association of Performing Arts (CAPA) reveals an impressive increase, with 342,400 commercial performances held across China in the first three quarters of 2023 — an astounding rise of 279 percent compared to the same period last year. The flourishing concert economy highlights a growing demand for cultural and spiritual experiences in China, positioning the concert economy as a key trend in this year's consumer market.

Village BA

In 2023, the "Village Basketball Association" (Village BA) surged in popularity, emerging as a grassroots basketball tournament in a small village in Guizhou Province, southwest China. This grassroots basketball tournament, organized locally, has gained national recognition, drawing many spectators and participants. The tournament serves as a platform for showcasing the passion and skills of rural basketball players, highlighting their teamwork on the court.

Zibo barbecue

At the beginning of 2023, a barbecue frenzy gripped China, with the city of Zibo in eastern China’s Shandong Province shooting to national fame. The iconic barbecue in this old industrial city attracted flocks of foodies, sparking both an economic boom and much-awaited post-pandemic excitement.

"Special Forces" style tourism

In 2023, young Chinese travelers adopted a “Special Forces” style of tourism, characterized by speed, thrift, and fun. The trend involves rapid visits to multiple attractions and quick stops at street stalls and eateries before swiftly moving on to the next Instagrammable location. Seen as an efficient way to maximize short holiday breaks, this emerging travel approach reflects a pent-up demand for tourism and consumption following the COVID-19 pandemic.

City walk

"City walk," the act of freely strolling through urban landscapes without detailed plans and heavy bags, has become a prevalent trend among young people in China this year. This form of travel offers a convenient and liberating way to intimately experience urban culture and local traditions. In contrast to tightly-scheduled itineraries and structured tours, city walking emphasizes a free, casual, and spontaneous approach, reflecting the aspiration of young individuals for a more relaxed, slow-paced, and environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Dopamine dressing

In the summer of 2023, a vibrant fashion trend known as "Dopamine Dressing" swept through China. This style, characterized by brightly colored and eye-catching outfits, aims to evoke joy by stimulating the release of the pleasure-inducing neurotransmitter dopamine. Beyond fashion, the term "dopamine" has come to signify happiness. From visual colors to abstract concepts, everything from "Dopamine Scenic Areas" to "Dopamine Strolls," "Dopamine Dining," and even "Dopamine Vacations" became expressions of the optimistic lifestyle associated with the pursuit of happiness. This trend not only showcases a preference for bright and cheerful aesthetics but also reflects people's upbeat attitudes and aspirations for a better life.

(Web editor: Zhang Wenjie, Wu Chengliang)


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