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Signed a Contract Worth 24.28 Billion Yuan, Jiaxing Pinghu “Lights up” a City with Watermelon Lanterns

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Signed a Contract Worth 24.28 Billion Yuan, Jiaxing Pinghu “Lights up” a City with Watermelon Lanterns

September 23
00:20 2023

On September 21st, the opening ceremony of the 2023 Pinghu Watermelon Lantern Cultural Festival and Investment and Trade Fai was held in Jiaxing, Zhejiang. During this year’s Watermelon Lantern Cultural Festival, 60 major projects with a total investment of 24.28 billion yuan has been signed.

For 32 years, the light of watermelon lanterns is always bright

“Whoever carves the sweet watermelon skillfully will see a bright light at the end of the day,” Zhang Fengnian, a literati from the Qing Dynasty, wrote in the Qilv poet “Watermelon Lantern”. Every September, young children with unkempt hair walk together with the elder. The fragrance of watermelon pervades among the emerald and lifelike lanterns. For cultural inheritance, Pinghu organized a festival in the name of the watermelon lanterns, lasting for 32 years. Compared with ancient times, today’s watermelon lanterns have more forms. Craving objects can be anything, no longer limited to figures, flowers, insects, and fish. Carving technology also constantly innovates, letting the watermelon lanterns visible and vivid.

Although this lantern is an “antique”, its mentality is not old at all. To break through the circle, it attracts the attention of young people. In recent years, it has gradually given up its status as an intangible cultural heritage and begun entering communities, schools, and other places to connect with young people. Even more interesting is that this “antique” has also started to play “transformation”. Due to the material used, watermelon lanterns have a short shelf life. In order to keep this “instant art” alive in the eyes of the people for a long time, Pinghu people continue to activate it.

“Most of the watermelon lanterns that can be seen on the streets of Pinghu all year round are 3D printed.” Li Yan, chief of the service section of Pinghu Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism, said that applying advanced materials and technology has also made the watermelon lanterns more lively and approachable.

Since 1998, cultural trade has kept “new”

Pinghu is a famous land of plenty, a city of watermelon lanterns, and a state of culture in the south of the Yangtze River, and is known as the “Golden Pinghu”. There are attractions such as Sakura Town, Baseball Town, and Rowing Town, and Pinghu has won significant honors such as National Civilized City, 5A-level Scenic City, and Global Tourism Demonstration City. With the advancement of landmark essential projects such as the Shanghai-Pinghu Intercity Railway and Minghu Science and Technology Innovation Island, as well as the rapid development of nearly 50 Fortune 500 companies, Pinghu has formed a development pattern in which traditional industries and emerging industries complement each other, and high-end manufacturing and digital services go hand in hand. This small town is making every effort to build itself a shining pearl of Chinese-style modernization.

Since 1998, Pinghu has held economic and trade fairs yearly during the Watermelon Lantern Cultural Festival. “Culture sets the stage, economy performs” has become “culture and economy perform together on the stage”, complementing and integrating each other.

In recent years, various towns and streets in Pinghu have shown off their “unique skills” during the festival. Since then, marathons, baseball games, basketball games, etc. have become sub-activities of the Watermelon Lantern Cultural Festival. Several IPs containing Pinghu’s unique cultural “recipe”, such as the Shutong Art Season and the “Danghu Ten Game Cup” Go Tournament, have also become the foundation for urban development.

From the display of exquisite watermelon lantern carving skills, to the use of lanterns as a medium to attract investment, to the anticipated “national mobilization”, the Watermelon Lantern Cultural Festival has formed a dazzling “symbiosis effect” in Pinghu. Especially at those economic events, “high-end” projects such as EDF, JD.com, Sinopec, and Japan’s Nidec attended.

“In the past few years, we have also used video connections to set up branch venues in Japan and Germany to attract more businessmen to invest.” said Sheng Bin, director of the Pinghu Investment Service Center. From signing three projects in 1991 to signing 60 significant projects with a total investment of 24.28 billion yuan this year, the signing sheets at the Pinghu Watermelon Lantern Cultural Festival and Economic and Trade Fair have become a report card for local economic development.

As a result, Pinghu has the potential and resilience to develop rapidly due to its innovative industries and growing enterprises – it has become one of the first batch of counties and cities with the most investment value in the Yangtze River Delta, and its internationalization level has ranked fourth in Zhejiang Province. Foreign capital utilization has entered the “Top Ten” in the province for 23 consecutive years.

Many industries have gathered and emerged using watermelon lanterns as a medium: the automobile industry has achieved a chain leap of “turning parts into wholes”, machine tool manufacturing is moving towards high-end, and the aerospace industry base project is advancing rapidly… The swaying watermelon lanterns light up thousands of houses, projecting the past and future of the small town.

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