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Hebei firm gains fame for unique wedding photo shredding services

In Hebei, China, a businessman taps into an unconventional niche, providing divorced couples with a distinctive service: shredding or disposing of wedding photos and albums, sparing them from lingering painful memories.

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CHINA: Marriage often marks the beginning of a new journey, symbolizing the fruitful collaboration of a couple as they progress towards new milestones. It is undoubtedly worth preserving these cherished moments by hiring a professional photographer for a wedding photoshoot.

However, what happens if the marriage doesn’t stand the test of time, and the once-promised forever turns into a painful separation?

In Hebei, China, a company has identified a unique business opportunity by offering an unusual service: assisting divorced couples in shredding or completely disposing of their wedding photos or albums, which may otherwise become painful reminders of the past.

To address the challenges associated with handling wedding photos, Liu Wei, an entrepreneur in Hebei, has pioneered the specialized business.

Since March through the end of 2023, his firm has successfully shredded nearly 450 sets of wedding photos.

Utilizing a weight-based charging system, customers only need to pay the corresponding fees. Regardless of the original cost of the wedding photos, whether a few thousand or tens of thousands of Chinese yuan, they are indiscriminately fed into a shredder machine.

The shredded fragments are then sent to an incinerator at a power plant, transforming them into mere dust.

Liu Wei and his team are gaining increased recognition on China’s social media platforms, he told Chinese media that he, along with friends, conceived the idea of venturing into a new business in December 2022.

Initially, their focus was on disposed personal items like phones, cameras, and computer hard drives. Liu Wei emphasized the privacy risks associated with reselling such devices and the burden of leaving them at home.

In March 2023, they shifted their attention to the more private and niche market of wedding photo shredding.

Wedding photo frames, often made of materials like acrylic and metal, pose difficulties for self-processing. Additionally, there are privacy risks, which Liu Wei identifies as the “pain points of pain points.”

Although the initial target audience for the wedding photo destruction business was urban women in first and second-tier cities, Liu Wei was surprised to discover demand from rural areas during a conversation with a female employee.

This realization led to a small-scale market survey, prompting Liu Wei and his team to recognize the untapped market and launch the service.

“Without massive promotion, it’s mainly the three of us partners posting videos or content on Xiaohongshu and Douyin,” Liu Wei explained. When potential customers send private messages expressing interest, he adds them on WeChat to bring them into his private messages.

Videos shared by Mr Liu on Douyin depict the swift destruction of wedding photos, whether large frames or small tabletop decorations, using a rotating shredding machine.

Source: Douyin

Liu Wei stresses the importance of documenting each step, allowing customers to supervise the destruction process through monitoring, video calls, or even in-person witnessing, ensuring their privacy is protected.

Liu Wei told reporters that sometimes customers have special requests for handling their wedding photos.

For instance, some customers ask to spray paint all the photos green before shredding them, while others request to only spray paint themselves, leaving the other person’s face visible.

There are even customers who ask to spray paint themselves black and the other person red. While they may not understand these requests, Liu and his team never question them; they follow the customers’ requests.

A tale of rekindled love: Couples defy wedding photo shredding plans

Mailed wedding photos often encapsulate stories of marriages gone astray, yet occasionally, a heartwarming twist occurs, bringing joy to Liu Wei and his dedicated team.

“One day, a young man urgently contacted me, saying he wanted to destroy a set of wedding photos.”

“Since express delivery usually arrives after the factory closes in the afternoon, we typically handle it the next day. However, that young man wanted it destroyed the same day,” Liu Wei said.

Fortunately, they delayed it until the next day.

“The young man messaged me, saying his wife had returned.”

Due to such instances, Liu Wei and his team later started offering wedding photo storage services

. “Consider it a cooling-off period; after all, once we start the destruction process, there’s no turning back,” Mr Liu explained.

Mr Liu’s company charges for shredding services based on weight. The cheapest package is 59 yuan, while the most expensive is 219 yuan. However, for the priciest package, they refund 60 yuan for express delivery, bringing the final cost to 159 yuan.

Apart from wedding photo shredding, Liu’s firm offers services for confidential document and item shredding at corporate or governmental agency levels.

Notably, wedding photo destruction constitutes only a small percentage of Liu’s overall business.

While optimistic about the market prospects of the wedding photo destruction business and pioneering the way with his team, Liu acknowledges that cultivating user privacy awareness is a gradual process requiring unwavering dedication.

2.879 million couples in China underwent divorce proceedings in 2022

Concerns have risen over the marriage and divorce rates in China. In October 2023, China’s  Ministry of Civil Affairs (民政部), issued “Statistical Bulletin on the Development of Civil Affairs in 2022” on its website.

In 2022, 6.835 million couples registered for marriage, marking a 10.6% decrease from the previous year. The marriage rate stands at 4.8‰, reflecting a 0.6‰ decrease from the previous year.

In 2022, a total of 2.879 million couples underwent divorce proceedings, showing a 1.4% increase from the previous year.

Among them, 2.1 million divorces were registered by civil affairs departments, while 779,000 divorces were court-issued or mediated. The divorce rate is recorded at 2.0‰.

Population studies experts find that China’s divorce rate exhibits noticeable fluctuations in tandem with adjustments to time-constrained divorce policies.

China experts believe that the implementation of the “cooling-off period” system gradually shows efficacy in restraining impulsive and frivolous divorces. As this policy becomes more ingrained, future divorce data may exhibit increased stability.

The “cooling-off period” refers to a provision added in 2021 to the Civil Code’s Marriage and Family section. It allows either party to withdraw a divorce application within 30 days of its submission to the marriage registration authority, aiming to prevent hasty and rash divorces.”

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fuck off. ban china’s tiktok

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