Chinese heartthrobs attest to country’s prosperity

By Shan Renping Source:Global Times Published: 2017/10/9 21:58:39

"China's Justin Bieber" almost broke the Chinese mainland Internet on Sunday with his Sina Weibo social media post.

"Hello everyone," wrote Lu Han, "I'm introducing my girlfriend Guan Xiaotong."

With these few words, the singer and actor created a Sina Weibo record of more than 4 million likes in less than a day.

Lu, compared to Bieber first by foreign media, has such a large fan base that his post even briefly paralyzed the Weibo platform.

Many Weibo users sent their own posts imitating Lu's style. This online celebrity worship among Chinese mainland fans seems to even have surpassed the passion for pop stars we witness in Western countries.

On the other hand, this was bound to happen. It is only natural in a market economy that stars are made. The extraordinary influence of these handsome hunks reflects the breadth and depth of China's market economy and how sizable that market really can be.

The whole world has tuned into entertainment. In developed and emerging economies, pop stars enjoy a superior place in terms of social clout. In addition to film and TV products, they take on numerous endorsements and ambassadorial roles. They play a role in economic development and moral education.

We are now in the era of the "attention economy." Chinese mainland company Tencent released its instant messaging software service QQ in 1999 and cashed in on the attention. Then the company built an empire through services like WeChat and e-payment. Similarly, show business stars attract a massive fan base and have become more influential than their peers of the past.

This kind of thing happens during peace and prosperity. Only when a sense of political and economic crisis has been averted can people divert their gaze toward entertainment and the unparalleled appeal of celebrity.

People can now relax whenever they like with television or the mobile phone. Meanwhile others are working hard to deal with the challenges facing a large country like China. Some haven't the spare time to share in the robust development of the entertainment industry. In this sense, it's unfair that these stars accrue such glory, unimaginable to those who have made a decisive contribution to the country.

It takes time to figure out what is the nature and long-term influence of these charismatic stars. But all in all, some previously unseen phenomena are happening in a peaceful, stable and prosperous China. As the entertainment industry thrives, we must wait and see in which direction it is going.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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