Find your “rice bowl”: reassures graduates with livelihoods outside tall buildings

On 12 June, takeaway and food delivery platform released a “graduation season” advert. Featuring comedian Niao Niao, the ad sees her speaking to a group of new graduates, introducing various alternative careers to office jobs. The video shows footage of each of the real examples with Niao Niao introducing their motivation for taking the jobs. This reassurance comes as 11.79 million are expected to graduate from university this summer, making 2024 the “hardest job-hunting season”.

The non-office jobs introduced by Niao, of course, includes her own job as a comedian. But the regular people she introduces range from a post-00s generation zookeeper at the Shanghai Wild Animal Park, a creative bun and breakfast shop owner who quit her job to start the business, a porcelain-making apprentice since graduation, a digital nomad and globetrotter and a post-95 director of 5 nursing homes. Each one has a one-liner from Niao, such as “they all said I was too quiet, how am I going to speak to my co-workers, so I got a job holding a microphone” for herself, or “whatever kind of bowl, it’s a good bowl if you can eat from it”.

The core concept of the ad comes from the figurative saying of calling one’s livelihood as one’s “rice bowl” (饭碗) in Chinese. The overall tagline of the campaign is “Hope you get along well all your life, there’s everywhere” (人生处处吃得开,到哪都有饿了么). This plays on “吃得开” (get along) literally means “eat well”, so brings it back to food delivery itself. By the way, the literal translation of’s Chinese name “饿了么” is “You Hungry?”, part of Alibaba’s “local lifestyle” arm has been improving its revenue for 30 months. However, the “local life” branch, which also includes the likes of Koubei and Gaode Maps (Amap), still made a 3.2 billion RMB (441.03 million USD) loss.

On the other hand, competitor Meituan made annual profit for a third time in 2023. Alibaba replaced the “local lifestyle” group chairman and CEO Yu Yongfu with Wu Zeming and Han Liu in these two roles. Han, the new CEO recently shared that the platform will leverage real-time delivery and build a utility (water/electricity/gas) platform in the face of the real-time logistic 2.0 era.


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