Oc­cu­pa­tions Be­hind the World Cup

China's Foreign Trade (English) - - Focus - By Jenny Hu

The qua­dren­nial World Cup be­gins in the hot sum­mer of July, which is not only the car­ni­val day for the fans, but also brings busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties to the “World Cup Econ­omy”.

The rise of the E- com­merce plat­forms sell­ing cray­fish has spawned a new pro­fes­sion, cray­fish tasters, who work over­time un­til early morn­ing to eat cray­fish dur­ing the World Cup; night snack is nec­es­sary while watch­ing the game, so the in­crease in the or­ders prom­ises the de­liv­ery mena “monthly salary over 10,000 RMB”; the num­ber of the fans of sports Taobao an­chors in­creases sig­nif­i­cantly, many of whom have changed their sched­ule to Rus­sian time; without the help of Chi­nese women work­ers, the mas­cot of the World Cup might not ap­pear on the open­ing cer­e­mony on time.

In fact, cray­fish taster, Taobao an­chor and many oc­cu­pa­tions un­heard of as such have been popular for a long time. The World Cup brings them to the at­ten­tion again. Some ne­ti­zens even say that “they would like to be a cray­fish taster without be­ing paid”. In ad­di­tion, the New Re­tail has also cre­ated many nov­elty oc­cu­pa­tions such as ro­bot breed­ers and Hema ( A New Re­tail plat­form un­der the Alibaba Group) pick­ing work­ers.

Cray­fish taster — cray­fish tasters work over­time to eat cray­fish un­til 2 am

As the World Cup comes, the cray­fish be­come much fa­vored by the pub­lic. The lat­est data shows that more than 100 mil­lion cray­fish have been sold on plat­forms such as Tmall, Hema, Koubei, and Ele.me.

In a cray­fish pro­cess­ing plant in Qian­jiang, Hubei prov­ince, Qu Yunx­iao, a 25- year- old girl from Shan­dong prov­ince, peels and eats cray­fish ev­ery­day, record­ing the shape, color, taste and spici­ness of each batch of cray­fish. She is a full-time “cray­fish taster”.

“Cray­fish taster” has be­come an emerg­ing pro­fes­sion be­cause of the de­vel­op­ment of cray­fish e-com­merce on Tmall.

Two years ago, af­ter fin­ish­ing her un­der­grad­u­ate study, Qu went to Cardiff Univer­sity, a fa­mous Bri­tish univer­sity, to study the sup­ply chain. Last year, she grad­u­ated with Mas­ter de­gree and re­turned to China. In most peo­ple’s eyes, “cray­fish taster” is a per­fect job as Qu’s en­try-level salary can reach an an­nual RMB 300,000 and she can eat cray­fish of var­i­ous fla­vors ev­ery day. How­ever, the ar­du­ous ef­forts she pays are be­yond oth­ers’ imag­i­na­tion.

Qu first needs to ob­ser ve whether the cray­fish is tightly frozen. Then, she has to check if any cray­fish body or for­ceps are not in­tact or bro­ken af­ter be­ing heated. Be­fore tast­ing, Qu needs to ex­am­ine whether a spicy and de­li­cious fla­vor can be smelled.

In or­der to re­move the tongue’s memory of the last batch of cray­fish, cray­fish tasters have to gar­gle with milk ( to get rid of the spicy feel­ing) and min­eral wa­ter (to get salty and sa­vory fla­vor out) so as to achieve max­i­mum pre­ci­sion. If it is found not meet­ing the stan­dard, the en­tire batch can­not be put on the mar­ket.

A cray fi s h t a s t e r e a t s a n av­er­age of 1kg, at best, 2.5kg of cray­fish a day. As the World Cup boosts sales, fac­to­ries of­ten work over­time un­til 2am. In such case, it is nor­mal for Qu to eat hun­dreds of cray­fish ev­ery day.

Qu’s com­pany has about 50 full­time “cray­fish tasters”, the high­est an­nual salary can reach up to RMB 600,000. Now as the com­pany’s pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity is ex­pand­ing, cray­fish tasters are in ur­gent need. How­ever, the com­pany ad­mits that a qual­i­fied taster must be fa­mil­iar with ev­ery step in­clud­ing cook­ing, qual­ity con­trol and sup­ply chain. Ta­lents as such are rel­a­tively scarce.

De­liv­ery­men — ev­ery day de­liv­er­ing or­ders till early morn­ing and send­ing 300 bot­tles of beer at most at once

The World Cup is a fes­ti­val for fans. To let the fans cel­e­brate it well, the de­liv­ery­men work all night, who can be called the busiest group.

At 7:00 pm on June 17, be­fore the beginning of the match be­tween Costa Rica and Ser­bia, Ele.me re­ceived an or­der from a party house in a shop­ping mall in Pu­tuo District of Shang­hai, that about 20 fans made an ur­gent re­quest for 300 bot­tles of beer. This is the or­der that books the most beer at a time on the plat­form since the start of the World Cup.

I n t h e Fe n g n i a o d e l i ve r y ter­mi­nal at 91 Yanchuan Road, Pu­tuo District, the 26- year- old de­liv­ery brother Wu Ying­bing quickly took ac­tion. Be­fore re­ceiv­ing the or­der, he was brows­ing game in­for­ma­tion on his mo­bile phone. Al­though the game was about to be­gin, in his eyes, the cus­tomer’s or­der is more im­por­tant. Dur­ing the World Cup, the book­ing vol­ume of beer greatly in­creased as the fans were en­thu­si­as­tic. How to trans­port 300 bot­tles of beers that is 25 boxes is a prob­lem. Wu Ying­bing and other five de­liv­ery­men went to the RT- MART Cao’an store of to carry beers.

Wu Yi n g b i n g is a fresh de­liv­ery­man as he started this job in Fe­bru­ary this year. He once lost money in open­ing a roast duck restau­rant. There­fore, he came to Shang­hai and, with the ex­pec­ta­tion of higher in­come, be­came a de­liv­ery brother at Ele.me.

Af­ter half an hour, they sent the 300 bot­tles of beer to the party house. The twenty cus­tomers col­lec­tively ap­plauded them when the de­liv­ery men opened the door, as they solved the fans’ un­com­fort­able­ness of no al­co­hol like timely rain.

Fans drink beers while watch­ing the World Cup. In Shang­hai, the city never sleeps; there are tens of thou­sands of de­liv­ery drivers like Wu Ying­bing, who still re­ceive or­ders af­ter 9 or 10 pm.

New eco­nomic forms such as lo­cal liv­ing ser­vices and lo­gis­tics gen­er­ate a huge num­ber of new job op­por­tu­ni­ties. Dur­ing the World Cup, the en­thu­si­asm of the fans boosts the de­liv­ery plat­forms, which en­ables de­liv­ery men like Wu Ying­bing to see the hope of a salary

Taobao an­chor — sell­ing sports equip­ment through live video stream­ing

In the early morn­ing of Shang­hai, Taobao an­chor Li Wei ( An­ge­lalee Li Linglu) just fin­ished a live video stream­ing, and it was less than 7 hours be­fore her next show. The World Cup also makes the sports Taobao an­chor popular. Cor­re­spond­ingly, they ad­just their bi­o­log­i­cal clock to Rus­sian time.

Af­ter the break­fast, Li needs to spend a lot of time plan­ning the next live video from the theme, pre­sen­ta­tion forms, to the se­lec­tion and ar­range­ment of the live venue.

As a big fan, dur­ing the World Cup, all of Li’s live broad­cast time fol­lows the World Cup sched­ule.

At 8 pm on July 15, the match be­tween Egypt and Uruguay be­gan

in Yeka­ter­in­burg. Thou­sands of miles away in Shang­hai, Li Wei and her as­sis­tant have al­ready ar­rived at the Hongqiao Old Kele Train­ing Base. Her live broad­cast starts at 5 o’clock and ends at 11 o’clock. She watched the World Cup live with the foot­ball play­ers on the train­ing ground, and at the same time ex­plained the events for the fans in the Taobao live broad­cast room, pre­dicted the out­come of the game, and also rec­om­mended qual­i­fied sports equip­ment and prod­ucts to the fans ev­ery now and then. In the mid­dle of the live, she played the ball with the play­ers for a while. Be­cause of her at­ten­tion, ex­pla­na­tion and pre­dic­tion of the World Cup, the num­ber of Li’s fans rapidly grows.

Li Wei en­tered the Taobao live broad­cast plat­form in Jan­uary this year. Her fans are mostly in­ter­ested in sports and health. The unique op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fered by the Taobao plat­form and the enor­mous po­ten­tial of the en­tire Alibaba ecosys­tem have greatly in­ter­ested her. She fore­saw that this will also be the fu­ture of ver­ti­cal con­tent e-com­merce.

The data shows that there are cur­rently 1.6 mil­lion con­tent en­trepreneurs on the Taobao plat­form. They are not only the new force of Alibaba’s e-com­merce sec­tor, but also a foot­note for Ali’s new eco­nomic ecol­ogy and even the new em­ploy­ment pat­tern of the whole coun­try.

Chi­nese worker — sav­ing” the World Cup by pro­duc­ing the sou­venirs

The suc­cess­ful open­ing of the World Cup also thanks to a group of women work­ers 7,000 kilo­me­ters far away in China who solve a “big” prob­lem for Rus­sia.

The story be­gins in two months be­fore the open­ing cer­e­mony. The World Cup Or­ga­niz­ing Com­mit­tee found that Rus­sia’s back­ward light in­dus­try could not pro­duce a large mas­cot of two me­ters high for ma­jor oc­ca­sions such as the open­ing cer­e­mony. In the end, the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee, like the Chi­nese hand­schop­ping shop­pers, thought of “Taobao”.

The World Cup ma scot is called “Zabi­vaka” and the pro­to­type is the Rus­sian steppe wolf. The or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee orig­i­nally planned to make a few two-me­ter­high “Zabi­vaka” for the open­ing cer­e­mony. At the beginning, they found a group of lo­cal Rus­sian man­u­fac­tur­ers, but af­ter see­ing the sam­ples, they all said that it may be out of their abil­ity to make such big prod­ucts.

Then they seek help from Alibaba, the Chi­nese E- com­merce gi­ant. Var­i­ous re­sources are se­lected, matched and in­te­grated in Alibaba’s data­base, in­clud­ing 30 man­u­fac­tur­ers in An­hui, Hu­nan, Guang­dong and other 10 prov­inces; steel bars, leather, silk and cot­ton pro­duced in Chi­nese prov­inces; and thou­sands of wo­man work­ers mostly from the cen­tral and west­ern prov­inces, so as to find the proper man­u­fac­tur­ers and work­ers to “save the World Cup”.

A group of “elite women work­ers” in toy fac­to­ries com­pleted the whole process of mod­el­ing, trial work and mass pro­duc­tion in less than one month.

In ad­di­tion to the two-me­ter-high mas­cot, fac­to­ries in An­hui, Hu­nan, Guang­dong, Jiangsu and Zhe­jiang and other prov­inces jointly pro­duce more than one mil­lion small mas­cots of 30 cen­time­ters in height for the World Cup.

Un d e r t h e c u r r e nt s t r i c t en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion pol­icy, many toy fac­to­ries’ raw ma­te­rial sources have been af­fected. How­ever, un­der the ef­fec­tive al­lo­ca­tion of Alibaba, hun­dreds of batches of mil­lions of World Cup mas­cots are pro­duced smoothly and suc­cess­fully. Big data pre­cip­i­ta­tion se­lects and matches high-qual­ity man­u­fac­tur­ers for IP li­cen­sors and man­u­fac­tur­ers then f ind the best raw ma­te­rial sup­pli­ers through Alibaba. As a re­sult, the un­known Chi­nese fe­male work­ers have also be­come a part of the “Made in In­ter­net”( In­ter­net Ma nu f a c t u r i ng ) , one o f t h e lat­est con­cepts, and hav­ing a real con­nec­tion with the orig­i­nally dis­tant World Cup.

The data shows that there are cur­rently 1.6 mil­lion con­tent en­trepreneurs on the Taobao plat­form.

It is vi­tal for both China and coun­tries along the routes to prac­tice in the prin­ci­ple of green de­vel­op­ment and to ad­vo­cate a green, low-car­bon, re­cy­clable and sus­tain­able life­style.

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