Every year, the world’s largest annual human migration arrives with chunyun, the time surrounding Spring Festival when Chinese all around the country are trying to go back to their families to celebrate the holidays. That means demand for train tickets is extremely high.
Buying tickets should now be easier than ever with the proliferation of online sales. However, some unscrupulous people are taking advantage of the system by buying up tickets to reselling them at a higher price by using sophisticated technology.
The scalpers are renting remote servers that give them a faster internet connection to sites like 12306, a ticket selling portal. Scalpers believe that by spending around RMB 100 a day to rent a private server with Beijing Telecommunications, they are given faster access to 12306, itself physically located in Beijing.
Despite getting blocked, scalpers like Chen Xiao organize themselves on social media networks like QQ where they share tips such as the private server trick. While intermediaries like Li Chong don’t make any guarantees that the scalpers are able to buy more tickets, they say they can provide a faster internet connection at the very least.
This Spring Festival, make sure you buy your train tickets well in advance.