Hua Chenyu rehearsal

Leading up to this year’s Hua Chenyu concerts, the mood on Mars has been one of quiet anticipation in the past few weeks. Earlier today, ticketing platform Damai started shipping the tickets, so don’t forget to check your mail in the next few days if you planned to visit Mars this year.

Incidentally, Chinese mobile payment giants Alipay and WeChat Pay announced plans on November 6 to open up their platforms to foreign tourists, just in time for overseas Martians to take full advantage of the apps during their Martian sojourn in the near cashless Chinese economy. Please note that most hotels, stores and restaurants in China accept credit cards (though using foreign credit cards might incur currency exchange and transaction fees depending on your bank. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are all widely accepted in Chinese big cities). That said, small businesses and mom-and-pop stores might not accept credit cards. That’s where mobile payment comes in handy (which might also spare you the transaction fees from the bank, though I’m not sure if Alipay will charge transaction fees on their international version). According to this article from Alizila: Since mobile payment has long dominated the Chinese market, even supplanting cash in many businesses, this will make navigating the country much friendlier for foreign visitors, who are now finally able to use the popular Chinese payment apps to make offline payments, hail cars, purchase train tickets, book hotels, use bike-sharing services, and more. Visitors will need an overseas phone number, a visa, and their bank card to sign up for a three-month “Tour Pass” on Alipay’s mini-program. Users can top up their accounts in increments of 2000 CNY ($285). After the tour pass expires, any leftover funds will be refunded automatically.

In other news, here are two latest Hua Chenyu interviews with NetEase Music and KIWI, helpfully translated by the Hua Chenyu English Subs team, and a commercial for Tsingtao Beer featuring Hua.

Hua’s next public appearance will be at Tmall’s famous (or infamous, depends on the perspective) Double Eleven Gala (aka Singles Day or 11/11 Global Shopping Festival) on November 10, an over-the-top, brazenly self-aware, and completely unashamed annual extravaganza dedicated to laissez-faire runaway consumerism. This is the event that notched 213.5 billion yuan ($30.7 billion) in sales in 2018, dwarfing Black Friday’s $6.2 billion, and $168.2 billion yuan ($25 billion) in 2017, matching Macy’s sales of the whole year in one day. This is also the event that witnessed Pharrell on stage with Kris Wu, painfully performing a song dedicated solely to shopping, Jessie J singing “Price Tag” (I dig the song choice, huehuehue), Cirque du Soleil putting on an online shopping-themed show, Daniel Craig selling Cadillacs, Scarlett Johansson producing a poker card out of her cleavage, and many more bizarre and crazy things. Hua performed “My Skateboard Shoes” at the event in 2016, and “Aliens” in 2015.

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