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Daily DripLifestyle

Brands Mark Chinese Valentine’s Day With Head-turning Product Releases

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It’s May 20, also known as ‘520’ in China (aka one of the numerous Chinese Valentine’s Days!). A product of the internet era in the naughties, 520 is regarded as the most romantic day of the year because of a phonetic coincidence: ‘I love you’ (我爱你, wo ai ni) and ‘520’ sound similar in Mandarin.

To divert your attention from lovey-dovey couples on cute dates, check out these head-turning product releases and indulge in some retail therapy — self-love is the new relationship status, after all.

And if you do have a boo but forgot to plan something special, take note: China has not one but two holidays devoted to a thing called love. Qixi (七夕), which falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the traditional lunar calendar (August 4 this year), is your second chance to make it up to them.

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Coming hot off the heels of a new collection of fugly sneakers, Balenciaga’s 520 initiatives are less scandalous, to say the least.

Chinese consumers can check out the luxury brand’s 520-themed capsule collection, a new mini program on WeChat called ‘520: Arcade,’ and WeChat avatars and stickers specific to the Chinese holiday.

balenciaga 520 game chinese valentine‘s day

Shop (left) or play (right) games in Balenciaga’s ‘520: Arcade’ mini program. Screengrab via WeChat

Clearly catering to the tastes of urban youth, the capsule collection embraces gamification and the virtualization of fashion.

In 520: Arcade, users are invited to explore a nostalgic pixelated universe. Try out two fun (read: mindless and meaningless) mobile games, which bring Super Mario and Space Invaders to mind.

balenciaga 520 game 2 chinese valentine‘s day

A screenshot of Balenciaga’s Space Invaders-like mini-game on WeChat. Screengrab via WeChat

Alternatively, you can shop for clothes and accessories on the mini program. Some items for sale include a limited-edition 520 T-shirt and Balenciaga staples such as the Hourglass handbag.

Balenciaga trainer track chinese valentine's

For sale: Significantly sturdier sneakers than the ‘Paris Sneakers.’ Image via Weibo

Less a fashionista and more a foodie? Then get behind another viral product by Master Kong, China’s largest producer of instant noodles, this Chinese Valentine’s Day.

On May 20, the F&B giant repackaged its signature jasmine tea with a hearty dose of ‘little fresh meat.’

The brand has aired a short film starring its ambassador Gong Jun — aka Simon Gong — to promote the new packaging. The film depicts Gong falling in love with a tea shop operator and her handcrafted jasmine tea.

The video quickly went viral on Weibo and was viewed more than 1.6 million times in a matter of hours, while the hashtag amassed 270 million views.

chinese valentine's day master kong gong jun

Master Kong’s 520-themed jasmine tea package comes with complimentary toys of Gong. Image via Weibo

Gong, who rose to fame as the lead actor in the boys’ love TV series Word of Honor, has been the face of Master Kong’s jasmine tea collection since February 2022.

In typical fandom fashion, Weibo users have proudly displayed pictures of their colossal tea orders accompanied by complimentary posters, stickers, and toys of Gong.

“Anything to support Gong Jun!” gushed one fan, while another said, “Now I have enough tea for the rest of the year.”

Cover image via WeChat

Beatrice Tamagno
Beatrice is a graduate student in sociology at Fudan University in Shanghai. Her writings have appeared on SupChina and ChinaNauts, an online magazine she co-founded with fellow researchers from Fudan. When she is not researching gender in contemporary China, you will find her playing mahjong or binging Chinese TV shows.

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