In a recent news report by NHK WORLD-JAPAN NEWS, it was highlighted that the stress of urban life in China is driving a growing number of young Chinese to seek solace in nature, swapping screens and schedules for the simple pleasures of camping.
This shift towards outdoor activities is not only redefining the relationship between jaded office workers and nature but is also driving a booming business for camping gear manufacturers.
Two hours away from the concrete sprawl of Chongqing lies a peaceful green oasis, a popular spot for weekend campers. “It’s great to be able to get away with the kids and relax for a bit,” says one camper.
Many of the campers are young urban workers who have benefited financially from China’s economic rise but are feeling burnt out by the intense demands of work. Increasingly, they are seeking refuge in nature.
The newfound zeal for tents and trees also stems from the pandemic years when China enforced a zero COVID-19 policy that made long-distance travel risky. As a result, many people opted to spend their vacations at campgrounds close to home instead.
Social media has played a significant role in this outdoor craze. Chongqing resident Joe Yu began uploading videos of his camping trips two years ago and quickly built a big following.
The clips became so popular that he was able to quit his job as a bus driver and focus on videos full-time. “I’ve got two kids to provide for, so I had some misgivings about quitting my job, but in the end, I decided I should take a step forward,” says Yu.
The outdoor craze is driving big business for makers of camping gear. A recent trade show in Shanghai drew firms from all over the world.
“We used to export our outdoor products, but now we’re also enjoying strong domestic sales,” says a representative from a Japanese company promoting its portable smoker, which has been a big hit back home.
The firm was able to pitch the product to a Chinese outdoor goods store. “In China, barbecues are common, but smoked food is pretty rare. It could be good to offer people the chance to try something different,” says the representative.
While China’s urban landscape continues to spread at a breakneck pace, the camping wave signals a step back. It shows that in an ever-changing world, the allure of nature remains timeless.
As the urban stress continues to mount in China, more and more young Chinese are finding solace in nature, driving a boom in the camping culture and related businesses.
The pandemic, social media, and the desire to try something different have all contributed to this trend.
While the urban landscape continues to expand rapidly, the growing popularity of camping indicates a timeless allure of nature and a step back from relentless urbanization.