Many Chinese cities have recently been promoting a “night economy,” which is now a hot concept as an important growth engine. In 2020, it is forecast that the value of China’s night economy will exceed 3 billion yuan (US$423 million).

There is a long history about the culture of night markets in Guangdong province, particularly in the Greater Bay Area. A Nightlife Index compiled by Yicai.com in 2017 showed that Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Foshan and Dongguan were among the top 10 Chinese cities that had active “night economies.”

According to a survey compiled by Asia Times’ Chinese edition about nightlife, homeboys and homegirls and “night owls,” or late sleepers, are the major contributors to the night economy in the Greater Bay Area.

More than 60% of those surveyed said they usually stayed at home in the evenings, no matter if it is a weekday or weekend. Others said they would have dinner with friends, watch movies, go shopping or work out at gyms.

However, compared with nationwide figures, the proportion of people who like to stay home at night in the Greater Bay Area is not high at all. Nationwide, about 83% of white-collar workers prefer to stay home in the evening, according to a survey sponsored by Zhaopin.com, a job-recruitment platform, and Meituan Dianping, an online food deliverer.

On August 16, China’s State Council issued local governments a document titled “Opinions on Accelerating the Development of Circulation Industry and Promoting Consumer Spending.” The promotion of a night economy is among the 20 opinions suggested in the document.

Prior to this, the Guangzhou Municipal Commerce Bureau on August 6 released a map for nighttime consumption and its plan to build up the reputation of “The Guangzhou night” with 30 night markets by 2021. Now, about one-third of restaurants in Guangdong are targeting evening diners, Yicai.com reported.

The survey published by Asia Times showed that about 6.3 out of 10 people went to bed late in the Greater Bay Area, compared with 5.4 out of 10 people in the remaining parts of China.

The economic size in the Greater Bay Area is huge as its 11 cities had a combined gross domestic product of more than 10 trillion yuan and a population of 70 million at the end of 2017. People in the area have strong consumption power, including at night.

About 29% of those surveyed in the area said they spent 4,000 yuan per month on consumer goods, excluding expenses related to car loans and house mortgages. About 4.1% of people in the area said they spent more than 10,000 yuan per month, compared with the nationwide level of 3.28%.

In the Greater Bay Area, about 7.5 out of 10 people said they liked to spend their money at night, while the nationwide level was 6.5 out of 10. About 44% in the area said they spent 30-50% of their expenses in the evening.

About 79% of respondents said they sometimes had late suppers, while 20.4% of them said they frequently had midnight snacks.

According to the survey compiled by Zhaopin.com and Meituan Dianping, white-collar workers in the Greater Bay Area like to spend on dining and shopping at night. About 58.1% of people prefer to order food online while 27.9% choose to go to restaurants. The remaining 14% cook at home.

This article was written by Huang Wanyi and first published on ATimesCN. It was translated into English by Jeff Pao.