BEIJING, June 18 (Xinhua) -- At nearly 8 a.m. Sunday, sales assistant Zhen Zhen received her first online order on the day before the Dragon Boat Festival, for several packages of glutinous rice dumplings (Zongzi), a traditional food served on the holiday.
Based in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, a place famous for its southern-style rice dumplings, Zhen's online store has achieved a remarkable sales record this year. The store has sold over 120,000 packages of its best-selling product in just a month, ranking among the top three stores of its kind on e-commerce platform Tmall.
Within 13 days, roughly 108 million rice dumplings have been sold on Tmall, according to a company report.
"These days are the busiest time of the year. I normally do not finish work until midnight, in case there are still customers in need of our services," said Zhen.
The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the year according to the Chinese lunar calendar and falls on June 18 this year.
Chinese people traditionally eat glutinous rice dumplings, hold dragon boat regattas, and drink xionghuang, a type of traditional cereal wine, to commemorate the poet Qu Yuan, who tragically drowned himself to prove his loyalty and innocence.
The holiday is a golden opportunity for China's retail and service industry, and is celebrated at the same time as Father's day and the World Cup this year.
At 10:30 a.m. in a Carrefour supermarket in Beijing's Chaoyang District, Mrs. Fan stood behind her little stall, busily selling handmade rice dumplings to customers. With 12 different varieties of vegetable and meat fillings ranging from salty to sweet flavors, Mrs. Fan's masterpieces cater to customers with different tastes.
"I stay up late every night to make these rice dumplings to guarantee they are fresh for the holiday," Mrs. Fan said and smiled, without a sign of tiredness on her face. "I feel happy every time the customers tell me my rice dumplings are delicious and they would like to purchase more."
The three-day break for the Dragon Boat Festival also sees a boom in both domestic and outbound tourism.
While the enthusiasm for outbound trips to Southeast Asia increases, short-distance travel by car is still the most popular and economic choice for most Chinese, according to a report jointly released by Chinese search engine Sogou and travel service company Mafengwo.
Starting on June 14, this year's FIFA World Cup coincides with the Dragon Boat Festival. With a favorable the time zone difference between the host country Russia and China, the late night food delivery industry has benefited.
According to food delivery company Meituan, orders grew by 40 percent from the previous day within just 15 minutes of the opening match of the World Cup.
At 11:30 p.m., while football fans were cheering for their teams, Tang Wujun, a young courier at Meituan, rode his motorbike along Guangqu Road in Beijing to deliver orders to his customer.
"The orders soar at night. Some of us even work until 3 a.m. since there are still online orders being placed. But we do get more pay at this time," Tang said, full of energy despite the day's hard work.