27 Jan 2023Read of the weekRead of the week: Chinese youth slow down

Given the changing lockdown rules and restriction uncertainty taking place in China, Chinese youth are using their newfound downtime to seek out comfort and escapism from the world around them. Many are turning to stove-boiled tea rituals as a way to feel more in tune with their emotional wellbeing.

J’Nae PhillipsJ'Nae Phillips is an Insights Editor at Canvas8. After an early career working in fashion and media, her passion for culture and journalism grew and she made the transition to writing and editing full-time. She specialises in fashion, trends, cultural shifts and all of the good stuff that gets people talking.

The traditional tea-drinking practice of wei lu zhu cha (‘cooking tea around the stove’) is gaining traction in China among Gen Zers that are embracing slower lifestyles. The associated hashtag has generated 980 million views on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, and there have been 12 million related searches on the social media platform Xiaohongshu.

According to a survey called ‘The Brave Face of Gen Z’, 73% of Gen Z in Asia Pacific (APAC) experienced elevated stress levels due to the pandemic with 57% saying their mental health worsened. On top of that, 79% face overwhelming stress monthly or more frequently with 28% experiencing stress weekly and 11% daily. But only 41% of APAC Gen Zers feel comfortable openly discussing their mental health.

As stressed-out Gen Zers place more value on their wellbeing and seek escapism through relief rituals such as stove-boiled tea, developing products that allow them to manage their wellbeing can help them to find comfort even during times of uncertainty. Young people in China are coming together on NetEase Cloud Music, a freemium music streaming service, to vent and virtually connect with others, with the platform even latching on to its nickname ‘NetEase Depression Cloud’ to encourage people to ask for emotional support and help.