Tuesday, March 18, 2014

College Student Sells Cherry-Viewing Map at Wuhan University

A college student named Lei Zheng recently employed a young woman wearing hanfu, traditional clothing of the Han Chinese people, to voluntarily introduce places to see cherry-blossoms as well as sell cherry-viewing maps to visitors at Wuhan University in central China's Hubei Province.

The entrepreneurial idea was motivated by Lei and his team. After being featured online and on campus for two days, about 2,000 copies of the map have now been ordered or sold, with total sales of about 10,000 yuan (U.S. $1,630).

Wuhan University is widely known as one of the most beautiful universities in China, especially for its cherry blossom gardens in the spring. A cherry blossom festival is held every spring and attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists looking to enjoy the floral delights, often leading to overcrowding on campus.

A student of Wuhan Social Work Professional College, Lei is the creator of the map. Lei said that every year during the cherry blossom festival at Wuhan University, he saw lots of people selling postcards with cherry blossom patterns, which gave him the idea of promoting hand-drawn cherry-viewing maps.

The design of the map took Lei almost a year. In February 2013, Lei inspected Wuhan University to learn about the locations of the cherry blossoms. Then, he and his girlfriend Zhang Luyao, went to Xiamen University in east China's Fujian Province where his girlfriend studies, and to his girlfriend's hometown in Baotou in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to learn how to make hand-painted maps. They also employed a designer.

To make the map accurate, Lei and his team members inspected the cherry-blossoms in the university by bike for half a month to gain information from experts and families of the university staff, and collect materials. To highlight the characteristics of the cherry-blossoms, they also attached a poem to the map, which was written by Lei's girlfriend. Then they had 5,000 copies printed before this year's blossoming.

As Zhang likes wearing hanfu very much, she posted three suits of hanfu to Lei prior to the blossoming to help promote his cherry-viewing map.

Lei said that the cherry-viewing map is the first step, and that they will create more hand-drawn products in the future.

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