The evening of Sunday February 20 saw the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Besides all the spectacle, it was also a day that saw a lot of Bing Dwen Dwen merchandise sold.
According to the official Olympic flagship store, two million Bing Dwen Dwen related items were sold in the last day of the Games.
From 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., customers could try to enter the hourly virtual line, known as 抢 (Qiang) in Chinese, to buy items with the adorable panda’s face on them.
Freestyle skiing gold medalist Eileen Gu poses for a photo with a Bing Dwen Dwen toy. Image via Weibo/@北京晚报
However, at 8 p.m. on the evening of February 20, a notice from the store stated that they were out of stock of all two million items of Bing Dwen Dwen merchandise on sale that day.
They said they “work hard to meet customer needs” and to make sure “everyone gets a Bing Dwen Dwen.”
The official Winter Games mascot, known in Chinese as 冰墩墩 (bing dun dun), proved popular with the general public, as well as among those involved in the Games.
First revealed to the public in September 2019, the mascot is a cute and cuddly panda wearing a futuristic spacesuit. According to Xinhua News, “Bing Dwen Dwen is designed to be a winter sports expert from the future, representing a perfect blend of winter sports and modern technology.”
Some hardcore Bing Dwen Dwen fans appeared during the Games. Jimu News reported a fan in Beijing by the name of Zhang Wenquan who had a collection of around 400 Bing Dwen Dwen toys.
Zhang reportedly receives around 8,000 private messages a day on his social media accounts, some of which are from less-than-impressed customers who want to know why he’s racking up so many Bing Dwen Dwens.
His defence? He started his collection in 2019 and had no idea how popular the mascot was.
Another super fan of Bing Dwen Dwen is Japanese journalist Gido Tsujioka. The NTV broadcaster traveled to Beijing to report on the Games and went viral on Chinese social media after several videos and photos showed his enthusiasm for the panda.
Japanese journalist Gido Tsujioka showing his enthusiasm for Bing Dwen Dwen. Image via Weibo/@人民日报海外版－海外网
On February 20, as the Games drew to a close, Tsujioka, nicknamed “Gido Dwen Dwen”, was seen in a viral music video bidding farewell to Bing Dwen Dwen.
On Weibo, the hashtag “Bing Dwen Dwen” amassed 5.71 billion views in total.
As the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games are set to begin on March 4, it’s goodbye to Bing Dwen Dwen and hello to Shuey Rhon Rhon, known as 雪容融 (xue rong rong) in Chinese. The Paralympic Winter Games mascot is a child with a traditional red Chinese lantern.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on whether or not Shuey Rhon Rhon matches his Winter Games counterpart in terms of popularity.
[Cover image via Weibo/@澎湃新闻]