As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to rage throughout the world, individual nations are taking steps towards life after COVID-19. Unsurprisingly, China is currently furthest into this process. Acting as Ground Zero for the virus, dealing with its consequences longer than any other country, China has managed to get infection rates under control according to news coming out of China.
As we all know, however, we still need to Be Alert. China is looking at how to reduce the risk of a new, even more decimating wave of the infection. One suggestion, in particular, has caught the eye – and, if enacted, it will have significant ramifications on the baijiu industry.
The city of Hangzhou, located in the Zhejiang province, introduced health codes at the peak of the Coronavirus crisis in February. These codes were installed on citizen’s cell phones via a QR code. In order to enter Hangzhou, individuals were asked to reveal their recent travel history and any potential health conditions they lived with.
The individual in question would then be assigned a health code – green, yellow or red. Those with a green health code were free to enter the city, as they were deemed to be at minimal risk of infection and spreading the virus. Yellow or red codes, however, resulted in short-term quarantine and health monitoring. The system quickly expanded to the rest of the country.
Buoyed by the success of the health code experiment, the authorities of Hangzhou have suggested a post-COVID expansion. The intention is for these health codes to remain in operation, and expanded upon to score citizens based on their lifestyle habits.
This will include how much exercise the individual takes each day, whether or not they smoke tobacco products, and how much alcohol they have a tendency to imbibe. A point score of up to 100 will then assigned. The closer to 100 a citizen’s health score, the likelier they are to enjoy a green health code – and the freedom associated with that.
This information would be used for both stick and carrot. Individuals will be awarded points for walking a significant number of steps in a day, and for sleeping for around eight hours per night. Points will be deducted for smoking cigarettes, however, and for consuming alcohol. Sinking 200ml of baijiu will cost an individual one-and-a-half points under the proposed system.
Naturally, this idea has proved unpopular among Chinese nationals that feel uncomfortable with their personal information being tracked by Big Data. It also relies upon a level of honesty from participants. If the scheme is introduced, however, it could have a far-reaching impact on the baijiu industry. As much as many Chinese nationals enjoy this liquor, they enjoy their civil liberties more. Will the people of China be willing to risk lowering their health score for the sake of a night on the baijiu?
We should stress that, at the time of writing. this remains a suggestion tabled by the Hangzhou authorities. It has not been passed as a nationwide doctrine, and may never be. After all, we need to consider the impact this would have on the Chinese economy as a whole. The Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd distillery, the largest baijiu manufacturer in China, is state-owned. If sales drop sharply, this could impact the government’s national budget. Hangzhou Qiandaohu Beer Co., Ltd located in the city of Hangzhou, would obviously also be significantly hit.
Alternatively, however, it could lead to a change in policy for baijiu manufacturers. While baijiu remains an ever-present in China, it is still comparatively unknown in the west. Many baijiu manufacturers have expressed an interest in breaking into this untapped market, increasing brand awareness and bringing the taste of this unique spirit to other nations.
If sales in baijiu’s homeland drop, efforts to achieve this aim could be doubled. The shortfall will need to be made up somewhere, and the world is a big place. Finding inroads into new markets could replace the money lost by a decrease in domestic consumption, and eventually dwarf homegrown profit margins.
Nothing is decided yet, and this idea may yet be rejected on grounds of security concerns. Ever since Hangzhou introduced the health code system it has been dogged by teething problems and data leaks, and this is a substantial undertaking. We will be watching events unfold with interest, though. If the authorities do start curbing baijiu intake in the provinces of China, it becomes increasingly likely that western drinkers will be introduced to a fascinating new taste sensation.
Moutai – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Scientific Analysis
A bottle of V.I.P Jiu 8 together with a bottle of Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy was sent to a UK laboratory for analysis.
The laboratory is a registered member of UKAS – The United Kingdom Accreditation Service that is recognised by the UK government when comparing products to internationally agreed standards.
The results confirmed what we already suspected – (Kweichow Moutai – VS – V.I.P Jiu 8 Results)