Rare are foreigners that can brag about being known in China. Exceptional are those who, moreover, possesses a perfect mastery of Mandarin. Therefore, how some people can still become well-known in this country with such an atypical culture?

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How can a foreign celebrity become famous in China?

In China, the power and the influence of social network are getting inevitable. We are talking about more than 500 million internet users, information spreads very, very fast! In spite of Facebook’s absence, yet n°1 in the world with over a billion active member, the Chinese internet is far from falling sick. We count numerous other websites to fill the void. To name just a few, there are Weibo (similar to Twitter) but also Kaixin001, Douban and QQ Renren Kaixin (more like MSN or Facebook)

Other Chineses forums make the internet the easiest way to create buzz and, this way, hope to win the jackpot by becoming famous. Generally, naughty videos, off-the-wall or stupid humor, but especially sex and vulgar create quickly this effect.


It’s notably the French web star, Nabilla, known for her stupidity and nudity picture, that made a name for herself in the Middle Kingdom in less than 48h thanks to one picture she posted on a local blog. Nothing extraordinary, you would say, but this allowed her to become the new Chinese pin-up. Be reassured, comments are mostly negative.

Those reactions are explained by pornography censorship which is purely and simply punished on the Chinese web. Being provocative, sexy, and even vulgar can work in your favor if your hopes are to come to fame in China. But it stays far from the appropriate solution for a foreign star that can’t allow tarnishing her reputation. Go into partnership with a Chinese brand or a China-based brand as part of a clothing campaign, a new car promotion or even a luxury good can generally help you to make a breakthrough into the industry. This strategy can work either on a worldwide or on a national celebrity thanks to a viral marketing that will distinguish both the brand and the ambassador who represent it.

Being vulgar or talking about sex is not the only way.

Don’t hesitate to go deeper into China where the population is not used to see foreigners and will appreciate the effort. This way, you can be sure to make a difference and a significant impact. The French actress Sophie Marceau, elected « the most appreciated woman by Chinese man » according to an opinion poll in 2012 realized by a Chinese website, doesn’t hesitate to directly go to China to promote her movies twice a year. Even though the country grants a limited quota for foreign movies the elegance and the romanticism of the actress seduced more than anyone could imagine. She has even been welcomed on Yang Lan’s set, also nicknamed « the Chinese Oprah Winfrey » which brought her a huge gratitude from the population.

Apart from the cinema with Marion Cotillard, Luc Besson, Jean Reno and Gérard Depardieu also well known, the sport is apparently one of the most popular professions upon Chinese and particularly football. Large clubs, like the one in Shanghai, pay more than 10 million euros per year to recruit European and South-American players. Especially the young French Julien Gaudfroy (Zhu Li’an) mentioned as « one of the most famous foreigners in China » thanks to his stand-up made in China and his perfect Mandarin.

So no reason for concern! Despite the Chinese weakness in the digital world, it is still doable to become successful in this country where the potential is peerless. The only key is to stand out and possibly without getting any clothes off.

Come to think about it, that weakness is a strength for web marketers, something that should be used and exploited using the right channels and the right content.

For example this artist.

Nowadays you have the ability to control your image and your reputation on the web and take care of anything that could damage your e-reputation. These stories show that both real-world appearances and digital world appearances are complementary and should not be considered as opposite or separately. Indeed, you can amplify one’s popularity in the real world by using the Internet 2.0. Controlling your image and your reputation is possible and helps you become more famous on the short-term or on the long-term depending on what you need.

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