A Chi­nese so­cial me­dia heart­throb from New Zealand

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By WANG YING in Shang­hai

wang_y­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Like many other 18-year-olds, Edi­son Fan was un­sure about what he wanted to do in life, so he sim­ply de­cided to go with his par­ents’ sug­ges­tion of fur­ther­ing his stud­ies in New Zealand.

Fan said that he had al­ways been in­ter­ested in the cre­ative arts, some­thing that stemmed from his days in pri­mary school when he dis­cov­ered he en­joyed learn­ing tra­di­tional Chi­nese paint­ing and bal­let. How­ever, he con­ceded that his par­ents, both of whom are doc­tors, pre­ferred that he stud­ied sci­ence.

As it turned out, the de­ci­sion to study abroad was a some­what for­tu­itous one, be­cause it was there that he dis­cov­ered how much he en­joyed be­ing on so­cial me­dia. Fan had started us­ing Weibo, a Chi­nese ver­sion of Twit­ter, since early 2011.

“Van­ity was the ini­tial mo­ti­va­tion for me to post self­ies on­line,” ad­mit­ted the boy­ishly good-look­ing 30-year-old.

In just half a year, Fan man­aged to draw 30,000 fol­low­ers de­spite liv­ing in a dif­fer­ent coun­try from most of them. When the fol­lower num­bers on his mi­croblog hit 500,000, Fan de­cided it was time to pur­sue his real dream of be­ing in the cre­ative in­dus­try.

In Oc­to­ber 2014, he was con­tacted about star­ring as one of the fash­ion judges in an In­ter­net pro­gram that was a Chi­nese ver­sion of the pop­u­lar tele­vi­sion se­ries Model.

This op­por­tu­nity led Fan to make the de­ci­sion to move back to Bei­jing in March 2015 and through the same In­ter­net pro­gram­ming plat­form iQiyi, he was se­lected to be a de­bater for a pop­u­lar Chi­nese pro­gram called You Can You Bibi. This op­por­tu­nity earned him another 300,000 fol­low­ers within a month.

To date, there are more than 850,000 fol­low­ers on Fan’s Weibo ac­count and more than 230,000 fol­low­ers on his In­sta­gram. He said that he gets about 600 com­ments for ev­ery post on his mi­croblog and each pic­ture he posts on In­sta­gram gar­ners be­tween 5,000 and 10,000 likes. His WeChat up­dates are read by an av­er­age of 40,000 peo­ple.

In­stead of just post­ing self­ies, Fan tries to come up with new ideas for his posts to re­tain and at­tract fol­low­ers. Some of his re­cent at­tempts in­clude show­cas­ing his spo­ken English and re­touch­ing pho­tos.

Last Septem­ber, Fan was signed by an artiste man­age­ment agency and was given the op­por­tu­nity to act in web dra­mas and movies. Although there is still a long way to go for Fan to be­come an A-lister, he said he is ready to take on the new chal­lenges ahead.

“Of course I want to be a su­per star, but a more re­al­is­tic dream of mine is to be a daddy, liv­ing in a house with my baby in New Zealand, and hav­ing enough to make this pos­si­ble to sus­tain,” he said.

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