Chinese college students living life the ‘low-cost’ way

Saturday, October 23, 2010

NEW DELHI - ‘Low cost’ life is the latest trend among Chinese college students, courtesy limited pocket money in hand.

One way to do that, it seems, is team-buying. Online team-buying offers huge discounts and, not surprisingly, is gaining wide popularity on campus.

Li Jing, of the China Youth University for Political Sciences said she often buys movie tickets online.

Recently, she bought two tickets for 40 yuan on the Internet-including a bag of popcorn-to see a movie.

In contrast, a prime-time movie ticket sells for about 80 yuan in Beijing’s downtown cinemas.

Li said she also often searched for team-buying information on cosmetics of international brands on various websites, including

“At online stores, which buy directly from overseas retailers, cosmetics are sold at about 70 percent of the shopping-mall prices,” quoted her as saying.

But while they offer a good opportunity to save money, Li said she would “think twice before buying them from online stores” because many of them were “a bit chaotic,” and had fake goods mixed among them.

Guo Jingna, a teacher at the Communication University of China, said most Chinese college students were unlikely to choose work-study programs to earn pocket money because of their intensive study schedules.

Students of the post-1980s and 1990s generation depend primarily on monthly sums given to them by their parents. For them, saving money to live a better life has, therefore, become a goal, and the Internet has become a useful tool to help them achieve that, said Guo.

For instance, a ‘VELO’ card has become another ideal choice for many money savers.

It provides all-round discounts while dining out or shopping in general.

Ding Jiawei of the Renmin University of China, said he has been using the ‘VELO’ card for about two years to purchase coupons when dinning out and having fun with friends.

Ding said it was “very convenient,” as the coupon machines were located in highly visible locations at shopping malls and could issue coupons for major fast-food chains.

However, such discount services are only available in large cities. But students in less developed regions have their own ways of reducing daily expenses.

Cao Zuyang of the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China often searches for sales online and buys things together with friends to cut down on delivery costs.

Most students also find it difficult to cope with the expense of accommodation while travelling.

So, they choose to travel to cities where they have classmates and friends and live in their (friend’s) dorms.

For instance, Ge Rui, a student at the Hebei University of Technology in northern China, has been to many cities where he has friends.

“Friends can act as free guides, offer me free accommodation and give me valuable tour information, which saves money, time and energy,” he said.

Ge added he could “buy fewer beverages and clothes” while travelling, and “broaden my mind ” at the same time. (ANI)

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