Have you heard of a new term, “Wang Hong”?
It means the ‘internet celebrity’ in Chinese. The rise of this new term is because the internet empowers users to share their own specialties, either talents or specific knowledge that attracts attention from the online community. ”Wang Hong”, internet celebrities, are able to draw a significant level of attention online and transfer this into business opportunities through brand promotions or direct sales. This process may be likened to the ratings of TV channels that generate a brands promotional income, it is just in a different, more China specific online format.
Cyber Celebrities are powerful
In China, Wang Hong has become a very popular profession among the younger generation who are high level internet users. Recently, there have been a series of photos that made headlines on many internet platforms in China (shown below).
(A Chinese girl v.s. a book in Russian. )
(A young and cute girl v.s. a heavy-duty equipment repair manual.)
A very successful series of images recently is concerned with a young woman sitting on beds with a repair manual for the E-505 heavy-duty excavator in Russia. You may ask what makes these photos so popular online? The answer is juxtaposition. Her reading books in a domestic setting is in stark contrast with the machinery. This series of photos soon turned into a huge discussion and went viral on social media in China and Russia where people commented,
“When I am bored, I want to go open a book on excavators.” “How do you know she does not have an excavator?” Others commented in Russia that; “She must be deeply attracted by the content, over 40 pages into it already”.
The photos have been shared tens of thousands of times on the internet and brought this young woman the celebrity status many seek these days. Whether it is a lucky accident or a planned action, this type of phenomenon has shown the power of the internet in this new era of digital business.
The Queen Papi Jiang
Another story happened in China in the last few months, an internet celebrity named Papi posted her three minute video of her playing different roles (of popular figures) and commenting on the latest social topics in a sarcastic and overly exaggerated way. Her video and her unique display have helped her attract more than 10 millions followers within a few months.
(With over 18 million followers on Weibo, Papi is now a famous Wang Hong in China)
With constant ratings and followers on her social media account, Papi Jiang received a 12 million yuan (2 million U.S. dollars) check from a domestic private equity firm on March 2016 to do branding and product promotion on her channel. Currently, she has more than 18 million followers on her Weibo where many of the key business opportunities are, this is the most ”open” social network in China.
This newly developed online industry is an inspiration to every internet user of the opportunities the internet presents and that are waiting to be discovered. However, the internet can be a double-edged sword that brings you blessings (like the many online celebrities) or a curse if you use it in the wrong way, especially in such a unique and exclusive internet landscape. Learn fast in this new generation, or in China’s digital maze you will be left behind.