It is the time of the Chinese dream, and the time for web celebs to rise. From singers and athletes to people who previously were virtual nobodies, these web celebs entertain and impress millions of internet users with their own distinctive style.
Here is AllChinaTech’s list of the top 8 web celebs in China, based on their followers on Weibo.
Weibo followers: 28 million
The singer became a hit in 2016 when his entertaining performances and sense of humor in TV shows gave audiences an impression of someone who was more than just a generic singer. A video clip of Xue being interviewed about his new songs gained 1.5 million views, as of Tuesday. The man introduced himself as a “second-tier comedian, fourth-tier singer, and 18th-tier actor” in characteristically humorous self-mockery.
2. Wang Sicong
Weibo followers: 22 million
Wang Sicong is the only son of China’s richest businessman, Wang Jianlin, chairman of Wanda Group, China’s largest real estate developer. In spite of his relationship with Wanda Group, the high-profile man rarely mentions real-estate business on Weibo, where he attacks movie stars for their apparently inappropriate behavior, criticizes song plagiarism by famous singers, and posts photos of good-looking female web celebs.
3. Papi Jiang
Weibo followers: 21 million
Web celeb Papi Jiang, a graduate of Beijing’s Central Drama Academy, makes humorous short videos on popular topics. Her fame skyrocketed in 2016, when her videos had an average view count of 7.53 million. An advertisement before her hit videos can cost as high as RMB 220,000 (USD 32,000). In March 2016, her start-up accelerator Papitube landed RMB 12 million in financing.
4. Aike Lili
Weibo followers: 9 million
This fashion photographer exploded in popularity on Weibo in 2015 when his videos caught on with an unique spoof style that was different from the more commonly seen female web celebs who make instructional makeup videos. His fame began when he uploaded a video about him taking part in what he called “an elementary student makeup competition”, where he draws on eyeliner with a marker and a subway card.
5. Fu Yuanhui
Weibo followers: 8 million
Fu Yuanhui is a female swimmer and bronze medalist at the Rio Olympics. The adorable and outspoken athlete became popular after her interview was aired in 2016. The expression from the interview “I’ve exhausted every bit of my power” went viral online soon after that, and her popularity has expanded beyond China. Ellen DeGeneres called her “China’s sweetheart” in her show.
6. Da Zhangwei
Weibo followers: 6 million
Da Zhangwei, born in Beijing, became famous in 1998 at the age of 15 as the lead singer of a hit band. However, his songs gradually became less popular as time passed. Recently he revived his fame as a web celeb, when his humorous personality was demonstrated in a video of him satirizing the lifestyle of Beijingers that went viral.
7. Zhang Dayi
Weibo followers: 5 million
Zhang has a lucrative online store that sells female clothing on Taobao. The former model posts short videos to demonstrate makeup tips and showcase clothes sold in her online store. Her down-to-earth style and pretty outfits are popular among younger women. Her store is reported to have ranked among the top 10 online clothing stores during the Singles’ Day online shopping festival.
8. Mi Meng
Weibo followers: 2 million
The female writer gained popularity in late 2015, when her articles catered to the emotions of a large group of Chinese readers. Her articles, to some extent, represent those who encounter some impolite or unfair treatment in their lives, but are unable to react. Most of her articles gained astonishing pageviews of more than 100,000 within an hour. The advertisement fee for one article by the writer could reportedly reach almost RMB 200,000.
(All photos from Baidu Images)