As China's strict border restrictions remain in place, Chinese influencers are getting creative when it comes to scratching their travel itch.
Taking to Chinese social media app Xiaohongshu, the influencers shared tips on how to "pretend to be in Los Angeles (LA)" with photos taken at Costco's Shanghai branch.
The trend didn't go unnoticed outside of China, with a tweet compiling the influencers' photos receiving "likes" from over 11,600 Twitter users, and getting retweeted around 1,140 times.
Chinese influencers pretending to be in Los Angeles by taking pictures at the Shanghai Costco pic.twitter.com/3kpgwMxHTz— giorgio (@giorgiomomurder) October 26, 2021
The original Twitter poster also clarified that the Chinese influencers were not trying to "trick anyone", and were just sharing tips to make their photos "look like Los Angeles by going to Costco", which the user found "way funnier".
Chinese netizens blasted the influencers
Some Weibo users were displeased that people outside of China had taken notice of the trend, as they thought that foreigners were making fun of the Chinese people.
Netizens also blasted the influencers for trying to "pretend" that they were in LA, and for attempting to portray the American city as a desirable place where people want to go to.
Another commenter expressed his contempt for the influencers, and labelled them as "traitors" to the Chinese race who "worship" the West.
Overwhelming crowds on opening day in August 2019
The membership-only American wholesale retailer opened in August 2019 to overwhelming response, with more than 200,000 new sign-ups.
On its first day of opening, Shanghai Costco had to close just a few hours into operations due to congestion brought by the huge crowd, Chinese media The Paper reported.
The authorities reportedly urged consumers to "shop rationally" and to avoid going to the store at peak hours.
Speaking to consumers present at Costco Shanghai's opening day, Chinese media Jiemian reported that consumers had to queue for one to two hours just to pay for their items, despite having 22 payment counters available.
The 1,200 parking lots also proved to be insufficient for the sheer number of visitors, with Costco eventually putting up signs that indicated a three-hour-long waiting time for parking lots.
Flashy handbags and attire at temples
This isn't the first time that influencers in China have drawn flak over their photo-taking habits.
In September, a certain group of influencers were criticised for posting about trips to Buddhist temples while being decked out with flashy handbags and attire.
The term "foyuan", which loosely translates to female Buddhist socialites, became a topic of discussion on Chinese social media at the time, after their trips to temples were perceived to be for their own gain in pursuit of fame and money.
These "foyuan" would post content about practicing calligraphy and "present cultivating the heart as a daily lifestyle", before beginning to sell items to the followers that they gained, according to Chinese state-controlled media Global Times.
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Top image via Xiaohongshu