Epidemic drives demand for online tomb-sweeping services
These days, we can order meals online, take classes online and even exercise online. And now, just in time for Qingming Festival, tomb-sweeping rites have moved online too.
“We don’t know what the funeral and interment industry will be like in the coming 20 years, but we know that we need to change with the needs of customers,” said Zhou Chen, assistant GM at Fu Shou Yuan International Group, a company which offers a variety of traditional tomb-sweeping services via online ordering.
Through the WeChat mini program Fushouyun, meaning "cloud tomb-sweeping," people can edit the biographical information of their deceased relatives, upload their photos and videos, make virtual offerings as well as arrange off-line tomb-sweeping. Services are available at some 3,000 cemeteries across China.
Staff can sweep tombs according to customers’ requirements and provide a live broadcast of the proceedings. Videos and photographs are available on request.
“We started to put our services online from 2001, and opened online tomb-sweeping for Shanghai customers in 2014,” explained Zhou.
Because of the current public health situation, reservations for visiting burial places are now encouraged by civil affairs authorities in Shanghai to prevent crowds from gathering. Those who wish to intern urns or sweep tombs in person are required to book their visit in advance starting from March 26. Online tomb-sweeping services are being promoted too.
Recent upgrades to Fu Shou Yuan Group's platform also make it easier for people to pay tribute to their deceased ancestors.
“Since March 1, with the launch of the new version of Fushouyun, we have already welcomed over 20,000 online customers with real name authentication,” said Zhou, who estimates that about 10,000 people visit the Fushouyun page every day.
“In 2014, few people accepted online tomb-sweeping,” said Zhou. “The epidemic is encouraging more people to have a try.”