Hotpot festival spices up Chongqing's consumer market

This year, the hotpot festival has invited over 20 hotpot companies to provide services. The event will run from January 6 to February 5.

With the Year of the Rabbit just around the corner, southwest China's Chongqing Municipality is holding a hotpot festival for local residents, aiming to add more incentives to the consumer market in the new year.

Chongqing hotpot, a renowned cuisine in China, has spread its footprint across the world. There are nearly 30,000 hotpot restaurants in Chongqing and some 200,000 hotpot restaurants across over 20 countries, according to data from the Chongqing Hotpot Association.

This year, the hotpot festival has invited over 20 hotpot companies to provide services. The event will run from January 6 to February 5.

"By holding the festival, on the one hand, we hope to inject more confidence into the hotpot industry at home and abroad," said Chen Guohua, head of the Chongqing Hotpot Association. "On the other hand, we also want hotpot, a complex industry, to drive a variety of other businesses, such as agriculture and tourism."

Due to favourable prices, many consumers are visiting stalls to eat hotpot. "Chongqing hotpot is hot and spicy, and contains a large variety of food," said He Yan, who spent 48 yuan (US$7) on a hotpot serving.

At a stall operated by Liu's Chongqing Hotpot, a brand which was established in 2000 and has more than 1,500 restaurants around the world, some people are enjoying eating hotpot and others are buying hotpot bases, ready-made hotpot and other products.

Liu's Chongqing Hotpot opened the first overseas hotpot restaurant in Dubai in 2010 and the first hotpot base factory in Canada in 2021.

"Now we have 66 hotpot restaurants in 15 countries and our hotpot products, such as hotpot bases, are in over 2,000 overseas supermarkets," said Liu Mei, chairperson of the hotpot brand.

Chen said the hotpot industry not only works as a Chinese name card to promote international business but also brings benefits to rural areas.

As chili is the most important ingredient in Chongqing hotpot, the Zhoushixiong hotpot brand purchases all of its chilies from the Shizhu Tujia Autonomous County in Chongqing.

"For a year, we have purchased 500 tons of chilies worth over 10 million yuan from Shizhu. Radishes, soy cheese, sausages and other agricultural products are also on our shopping list," said Zhou Dao, founder of the brand, which has over 20 hotpot restaurants in three cities.

"I was born in a village, so I hope my business can deliver tangible benefits to rural areas," Zhou said.

Zhou said events like the hotpot festival are very conducive to economic recovery and to restoring consumer confidence, adding that he plans to expand the brand's international business in 2023.

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