Over the past weeks I have been asked by several media about the effect of the global crisis on China. I normally reply that I do not really see much of an effect yet in Shanghai (see for example here, in Dutch), and that I am not too concerned for now. Exports are down, but consumer spending is still pretty good. Also the huge amount of money that the Chinese government tries to inject into the economy will certainly help to soften the potential negative effect of a global slowdown on China. But by coincidence I may have found an indicator that things are not the same as they used to be.
This week we were analyzing the traffic figures on our Chinese online game sites game.com.cn and xiaoyouxi.com, when we noted a strange effect. During weekdays there was hardly any growth on our portals, but on weekends the growth was similar to what we were used to. We looked a bit deeper into this and may have found a reason for this: staff in companies play less online games during working hours (normally we see a spike in traffic around 11:30 AM and from 4 PM onwards).
Why? Likely people are getting more afraid of the effects of the crisis and focus more on their work in order not to run the risk of being laid off. The effect started somewhere around November but seems to be getting more pronounced. I did not do any statistical analysis (and also do not plan to do this), but it seems like an indicator that some Chinese are changing their online behavior because of the crisis.