Christmas to bring traffic jams

Updated: 2014-12-24 12:02


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Christmas to bring traffic jams

Young girls dressed in Santa Claus costumes perform during a street dance show to celebrate Christmas in Nanjing,Jiangsu province, 21 December 2014.[Photo/IC]

Traffic jam alerts have been issued in many cities across China ahead of the Christmas as the holiday gets increasingly popular in the country.

Beijing's transport authority warned of "serious traffic congestion,"predicting the rush hour will start as early as at 3 pm. Gridlocks are expected in areas around CBD, major shopping districts, bars and churches, it said.

In Xi'an, Central China's Shaanxi province, police announced new traffic control plans in major areas in the city to deal with possible jams.

Authorities in Jinan, East China's Shandong province, and Shijiazhuang, North China's Hebei province, also issued warnings of traffic problems.

Christmas is celebrated by an increasing number of people in China, who see it more as an occasion for get-togethers and shopping without any religious attachment.

Commercial promotion has become a major annual event and in the streets and department stores there are decorations of Christmas trees, lights and Santa.

Macy's Inc, Aeropostale Inc and Saks Fifth Avenue are working with e-commerce companies Borderfree and Alipay to offer Christmas specials directly to Chinese consumers for the first time.

Western retailers such as Tesco Plc and Carrefour SA are dialing up their Christmas promotions in China, said Adam Levin, chief executive officer of Levin Consulting, a Beachwood, Ohio-based firm that advises manufacturers and retail chains on overseas tactics.

For young people, it's an opportunity to offer gifts, get together with friends and hold Christmas parties

"When I was growing up, all I knew about Christmas was Santa Claus and that it was a Western festival," said Crystal Zhao, 23, a Shanghai resident. That has changed, she added. Though Christmas is not China’s formal holiday, Zhao and her friends get together to check out the decorations in malls and exchange small gifts.