No Venue? No Problem: The Innovative Solution of a Mobile Banquet Hall in China
For those of you too busy to check in on the RADII website every day, we’ve got you every Tuesday with a summary of all we got on China’s youth culture from the last week. In this edition:
- Chinese banquets are often organized to commemorate various occasions ranging from weddings and holidays to corporate transactions. But if your village lacks a venue, the Old Horse Restaurant (老马酒店) offers a solution: a mobile banquet hall.
- Millions of people are migrating from rural areas to cities due to lower living standards in Asia, however, China and Indonesia are implementing innovative technology to enhance resource allocation and decrease disparities in rural regions.
- Sandbox VR's CEO, Steven Zhao, has announced that his team will be transforming the popular Korean series 'Squid Game' into an immersive game, incorporating various elements from the show to enhance the virtual gaming experience.
- Fine dining is often criticized for being too serious, but can this be a fair assessment when a tasting menu starts with a homemade marshmallow?
Intrigued? Keep scrolling, my friend.
Goodbye Food Trucks, Hello Mobile Banquet Halls
Chinese banquets are generally held to celebrate everything from weddings and holidays to business deals. What to do, then, if your village lacks a venue for these events? The enterprising Old Horse Restaurant (老马酒店) has an answer: a mobile banquet hall.
A short video about the mobile restaurant has gone viral on the Chinese internet. According to the online footage, on January 31, an unassuming semi-trailer arrived in a village outside the Inner Mongolian city of Chifeng.
Within half an hour, restaurant employees had unfolded it into a full-size banquet hall. They were there to host the reception for a local wedding.
The one-of-a-kind mobile banquet hall isn’t just a venue, however. As shown in the aforementioned video, in an upgrade on typical rural banquet fare, Old Horse Restaurant offers delicacies like soft-shelled turtle and turbot, a type of prized European flatfish.
The full banquet hall can host more than 20 tables and has floor heating and air conditioning.
Although no more information was revealed in the video, we searched online and found another mobile banquet hall operating in Anhui province, more than 1,000 kilometers away from Inner Mongolia. Interestingly enough, this banquet truck was made in and transported from Inner Mongolia.
These Asian Nations Use Tech to Bridge the Gaping Urban-Rural Divide
The western portion of North America is home to a staggering number of ghost towns, with decaying monuments to the boom-and-bust cycle of resource extraction littering the landscape from Alaska through the Yukon, western Canada, and the U.S. right down into Mexico. In California alone, there are hundreds of ghost towns, many of which were once bustling mining settlements that are now deserted following the cessation of resource extraction operations in the late 18th and early- to mid-19th centuries.
In recent times, Japan faced a similar phenomenon: an epidemic of ‘akiya,’ or empty homes. Low birth rates, an aging population, and many people leaving rural villages for major metropolises have given rise to an unprecedented number of vacant properties, left with no residents, no agent, and no one interested in purchasing them.
Settlement abandonment is a problem worldwide, and many ghost towns serve as evidence of failed urbanization attempts scuttled by war, disease, and natural or manufactured disasters. Other ghost towns symbolize the fickle nature of opportunity, when a collapse of jobs, resources, or infrastructure eventually renders a place economically unviable.
But what if steps could be taken to help improve life and business in small rural settlements before they are abandoned? Many Asian nations are trying just that — taking measures to prevent rural areas from becoming ghost towns. Countries like China and Indonesia, for example, are using innovative strategies to help strengthen employment opportunities and help raise living standards outside major cities.
For decades, people have left small villages behind and flocked to major cities in search of better work opportunities and a comfortable lifestyle. Ghost towns are physical reminders of the complicated relationship between cities and the countryside, as well as the existing urban-rural gap that's shaping the lives of millions.
However, thanks to technology, this divide is gradually closing, and resources are shared more equally between rural and urban areas.
This episode spotlights innovations in supply chains across Asia and features eFishery, a startup making the Indonesian aquaculture industry more efficient, Artisan Green, a Singapore-based tech company using vertical farming to fulfill food demands in metropolitan areas, and Ma Gongzuo, one of China's thousands of farmers-turned-live streamers.
- Sandbox VR and Netflix are collaborating to create an immersive virtual reality experience based on the popular South Korean survival drama series Squid Game. Now you can find out who would be the ultimate winner in a contest inspired by the show, without putting yourself or your friends in actual danger.
- Chinese soccer is hit by yet another probe as the country's football governing body chief, Chen Xuyuan, is under scrutiny for alleged corruption. This marks the fourth investigation into a high-profile figure in Chinese soccer in the past four months.
- Lyric and Asher Fergusson, travel researchers, provide an objective answer to a subjective question with their new project, the Global Foodie Index. The top 20 list includes two Chinese cities: Hong Kong (8th) and Shanghai (17th).
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