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2020-05

Chengdu is virtually back to business

source:China Daily Global Share:

Augmented reality exhibition offers residents some post-lockdown entertainment, as well as helping consumer footfall in the Sichuan Capital, Zhang Lei reports.

Mobile Augmented Reality-based interaction, between the virtual and real life, is now all the rage in Chengdu, the capital city of Southwest China's Sichuan province. An outdoor AR art exhibition, the one-month long Fun in the AiR, jointly created by Chengdu International Finance Square (Chengdu IFS) and British trend artist Jack Sachs, was officially launched last month.

Fun in the AiR, the first outdoor AR exhibition in China, leverages technology to immerse visitors in six groundbreaking, themed scenes in the Sculpture Garden and other outdoor spaces located at Chengdu IFS, an urban complex in the city's downtown. By scanning QR codes, visitors can enter the fantastic AR world, and enjoy interacting with the exhibition's AR animated characters.

With many businesses seeking ways to offset economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and foster fresh momentum across China, the pandemic, to a certain extent, has pushed shopping malls to look for various solutions to attract more consumers.

Jack Sachs, the artistic partner of this exhibition, is known for creating exaggerated and comical animated characters with simple geometric shapes and bright colors, as well as giving ordinary objects unique characters imbued with optimism and humor.

With this exhibition, he not only perfectly integrates the virtual 3D animated characters with real-life scenery, but also incorporates mahjong and other aspects of Sichuan's culture into modern art, delivering whimsical surprises to the Chengdu exhibition.

The exhibition's six themed scenes are located on the first floor of Chengdu IFS, accessed via the main entrance on Hongxing Road, and in the Sculpture Garden on the seventh floor. The themes include: Mahjong Superman, Panda Is Busy, Kitty Hops, Magic Picnic, Travel Guru and Fitness Space. There is also a hidden scene at the subway station, waiting to be discovered. The artist believes the exhibition is the perfect way to unwind and get re-energized after staying at home for such an extended period because of COVID-19.

Since its opening, Fun in the AiR has already become a "check-in" hot spot in the city. It also serves as a unique recreational destination, where visitors can travel through the virtual and real worlds, and engage in all manner of activities that they enjoy doing, including playing mahjong, traveling, picnicking, exercising and spending time with pets, all accessed by scanning QR codes.

As there is no need to keep a safe distance from others in the virtual world, visitors are free to interact with the cute AR creations in the open air, and immerse themselves in this worry-free experience and embrace the fresh and sunny days.

"By creating an immersive scene combining virtual reality, traditional malls introduce unconventional strategies with fun and eye-catching shopping experiences to establish an emotional connection with their consumers amid the pandemic," says Guo Xin, a marketing professor at Beijing Technology and Business University.

"After the baptism of Pokemon Go! a few years ago, Chinese young people are no stranger to such digital technology innovation, which has transformed them into pioneers."

She also says the smoothness of AR reality augmentation technology brings individual consumers the "unique sense of participation". Each individual and group can freely "re-create" AR content according to their own preferences, and actively carry out "secondary communication", so that the individual's active "sharing" behavior can be virtually transformed into the "branding" result of this event. These content-led activities are likely to pull in a resurgence of offline consumption in the second half of the year.

The exhibition will run until May 17, and is full of joy that not only includes a variety of activities, such as an online guide map with all the themed areas, a lucky draw, and gift-giving for VIP members, but also introduces peripheral products such as artist-branded skateboard, kids backpacks, eye masks and stickers.

"Chinese consumers, especially the younger generation, love living a quality life … they care about their individuality, and have different pursuits to match their lifestyle, that comes via exploring new experiences and products, says Sherri He, managing director for China at Kearney, the US-based management consulting firm.

The introduction of technologies including AR, virtual reality and artificial intelligence with various art themes will not only offer Chengdu residents the chance to keep pace with global trends, but also improve the city's ability to attract more tourists, investment opportunities and the growth of emerging business models, says Ma Yu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing.

Emerging and upgraded consumption is expected to unleash new drivers for the economy in the post-COVID-19 era, he says, adding that both the government and businesses will make an effort to facilitate the integration of online and offline consumption and upgrade traditional retail and services.

Contact the writer at zhanglei@chinadaily.com.cn

 

The one-month long AR exhibition Fun in the AiR, jointly created by Chengdu International Finance Square and British trend artist Jack Sachs, will run until May 17. CHINA DAILY

 

The one-month long AR exhibition Fun in the AiR, jointly created by Chengdu International Finance Square and British trend artist Jack Sachs, will run until May 17. CHINA DAILY

  

Traditional malls introduce unconventional strategies to establish an emotional connection with their consumers amid the pandemic. CHINA DAILY

 

Traditional malls introduce unconventional strategies to establish an emotional connection with their consumers amid the pandemic. CHINA DAILY


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