Chinese internet culture

Chinese internet culture

Hot Tibetan herdsman and Xinjiang horseback riding beauty are leading a regional tourism push
Local provinces in China are trying to cash in on attractive online influencers as a new way to boost local tourism. They hope to replicate the experience of Zhaxi Dingzhen, a 20-year-old Tibetan herdsman from Sichuan who became an internet sensation over a viral video showcasing what fans described as his “pure smile” and rugged appearance.  Regional governments are now scouring their populations for local ambassadors to help promote more remote areas of China to the rest of the country.  It is similar to a previous phenomenon of farmers in China earning acclaim by live-streaming their rural lifestyles. The most famous example is Li Ziqi, who presents an idyllic rural lifestyle to her milli
Virtual idols are the next internet trend in China
During a marathon live-stream on popular Chinese video platform Bilibili last month, Hiseki Erio performed for nine hours straight to 90,000 online viewers, of whom more than 3,000 were premium subscribers to her channel.  What makes the Japanese-speaking Erio stand out from other stars is that she is also a virtual idol. Unlike Vocaloids (digital avatars manipulated and run by computer programs), virtual idols are something of a digital-analog hybrid: avatars in the form of an animation or hologram but with real human voices, and with movements and facial expressions based on those of a real person. Virtual idols first appeared in Japan in the 1990s. They have, in recent years, caught the
Tibetan heartthrob charms millions with ‘pure smile’
A young Tibetan man has become a national heartthrob in China after millions of people became fans of his “clean eyes and pure smile.”   In a video released November 11, Zhaxi Dingzhen, a 20-year-old native of Litang, a remote county in Sichuan province, smiles as he walks toward the camera with his swarthy skin, big eyes, long eyelashes and thick but messy hair. He was walking in front of his home on the Tibetan plateau and smiling toward the camera a bit shyly. The video quickly went viral, receiving over 2.7 million likes and 135,000 comments, most of which complimented the man.  “He is so handsome! I’ve seen this video dozens of times,” wrote one user on Douyin, the Chinese version of T
Online shopping is exploding in China
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 710 million: the number of online shoppers in China.  The number of people in China who shop online reached 710 million in March 2020, according to the state-run China Internet Network Information Center.  The number has grown by 100 million from the end of 2018. Currently, more than half of China’s 1.4 billion population are buying things online. E-commerce has become a massive industry because of the growing spending power of China’s middle class. Also, the proliferation of online payment methods, as well as the low cost and efficient delivery infrastructure, has helped co
Digital gap between China’s cities and the countryside is shrinking
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 3.6 percentage points: the gap between the ability for rural and urban Chinese youth to access the internet. Young people in rural China are catching up with their city counterparts when it comes to going online. About 94% of urban Chinese youth have access to the internet, compared to 90.3% of rural youth, according to the China Internet Network Information Center, a government agency. The difference of 3.6 percentage points shrank from last year’s number of 5.4 percentage points, the center said in a report on internet access for people between the age of 6 and 18. China s
China has blocked one of the world’s biggest fanfiction sites
Archive of Our Own (AO3), one of the world’s biggest fanfiction sites, appeared to be blocked in China on Saturday as regulators further tightened internet controls. Some users furiously blamed fans of a popular actor for the government’s action. “Unfortunately, the Archive of Our Own is currently inaccessible in China,” the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), a US non-profit group that operates AO3, said on its Twitter account. It added that it could not resolve the problem since the disconnection is not caused by AO3’s servers. OTW did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday. Calls to the country’s internet watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) a
Chinese internet rejects Communist virtual idols named after Mao poems
Two new “virtual idols” representing the youth wing of China’s Communist Party failed spectacularly, in large part because they were released as China still struggles to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak.  The Communist Youth League posted on the Twitter-like Weibo on Monday that it would release two new animated cartoon characters.  “Let’s meet two new friends, the league’s virtual idols Hongqiman and Jiangshanjiao,” the Communist Youth League said to its 12 million followers.  The two characters’ names, which mean “abundant red flags” and “lovely land,” were both derived from poems by late Chairman Mao Zedong.  The project is the party’s latest attempt to win the hearts of China’s you
To go viral in China, creativity may be pointless
Can virality be taught? The more than 20 people gathered in a room in Shenzhen, in China’s southern Guangdong province, certainly think so.  Some have forked out as much as $1,400 for a weekend crash course on how to create short, funny videos that will get lots of views on Douyin, ByteDance’s Chinese version of its short-video app TikTok. Lots of clicks lead to potential advertising endorsements, or so the equation goes. Zhang Bo, a moon-faced man in his late 30s, is the man who promises to unlock the secrets of creating crazy popular videos.  Perched on a white table at the front of the class, Zhang regaled us with how one client made over $10.1 million in just three days following his met
Chinese blog panned for dissing Australian firefighters
A viral blog that attacked Australia’s failure to stop the months-long bush fires and implied Chinese firefighters were braver and more patriotic has stirred vigorous online debate. The post, published on China’s Facebook-like WeChat, contrasted the situation in Australia with China’s largest-ever wildfire, which lasted just under a month in 1987.  The article quickly racked up more than 23 million views, but was criticized by high-profile media commentators for insensitivity and using nationalism to generate cheap viral clicks. Friday’s article, titled “If it weren’t for the Australian bush fires, I would’ve never known that China was so powerful 33 years ago,” also suggested that Australia