• Andrew Collins

What’s Trending Online in China – November 2016

1. ALIPAY’S CONTROVERSIAL NEW FEATURE

‘圈子’ (‘Circle’) was a social function similar to WeChat’s Moments, but divided into 3 categories: ‘school’, ‘white collar’ and ‘overseas’. Curiously, only women were allowed to post within each circle. Thus in the ‘school’ circle, only female university students can use this feature. Other users could ‘like’ and even pay the author for posts that interested them.

The feature was available via invite only. However, invitations were only offered to users with an Alipay credit rating of over 750 – the highest bracket available. The move has sparked consternation online, with observers noting that the function serves only to connect well-to-do men with young women and even encouraging a modern form of prostitution. Recognising this PR disaster, the company has since withdrawn the function from its platform entirely.

2. TENCENT LAUNCH INNOVATIVE H5 APP

The H5 told a funny story around the most popular Chinese celebrity Xuezhiqian. The story is about a men who think the Tengxun comic app is the greatest comic app in the world because it has so many comics he love. Everytime he open that app, he would go into a comic world and be a part of that comic story.

The reason why people love this H5 because the celebrity is famous and funny. Also the H5 use the technology that mix the real shooting and animation no one use before. People feel fresh about this H5, the content attracts lot of people to watch it and share it. The animation and the story line is innovative and funny which makes going viral easily. The results showed that this H5 has more than 270W PV. The download rate is around 2%.

3. JELLY BELLY ‘BEAN BOOZLED’ CAMPAGIN

Jelly Belly caused a stir on Weibo this month as their ‘Bean Boozled’ range inspired the hashtag #哈利波特怪味豆# – ‘Harry Potter strange tasting beans’. Inspired by the ‘Every Flavour Beans’ in the popular series of novels, the candies had flavours ranging from rotten eggs to smelly socks. Hundreds of netizens then filmed themselves eating the mysterious beans and posted their reactions online. With nearly 7.5 million hashtag reads, the campaign demonstrated the power and reach of a well thought out UGC campaign.

4. EMMA WATSON FAILS TO INSPIRE CHINESE READERS

A book-sharing drive inspired by Harry Potter star, Emma Watson launched this month, sparking mixed reactions online. In the campaign – #丢书大作战# ‘the book dropping battle’ – over 10,000 books placed in numerous public spaces around Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, in the hope passers by would pick up and read them. However, it was reported that many of the books had been thrown away by cleaners, mistaken for place holders of people saving public seats, and altogether ignored by the public at large. Responses to the campaign were similarly downbeat, with many noting that passers by were simply snapping selfies with the books, instead of actually reading them.


5. KIM JONG-UN FED UP OF CHINESE NICKNAMES

North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un also gained notoriety online this month, albeit for all the wrong reasons. Following Chinese social media users’ persistent use of the nickname ‘Kim Fatty III’, orders – supposedly from government officials both in China and North Korea – were given to censor any results featuring mentions of the DPRK leader’s generous stature. Baidu, Weibo, and a host of other mainstream Chinese media have since been filtering out search results and comments containing any of Kim’s unflattering nicknames.

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