What’s Hot on Wechat: ‘Web red’ of 2016 secures $1.84 million investment
The news of an Internet star securing a joint investment of 12 million yuan ($1.84 million) has triggered heated discussion online, shaping new perspectives towards the ‘web red’ economy of today’s cyber-mad world.
29-year-old Shanghai native Jiang Yilei, known by her fans as papi酱 and who holds a degree in Directing from the Central Academy of Drama, shot to fame after sharing a hilarious short video on a popular video streaming platform earlier this year. Before that, the girl had been garnering a loyal following in cyberspace thanks to her stunning performing talents and wicked sense of humour, as demonstrated in a series of original and funny short videos shared online since October in 2015.
Jiang’s online debut, that showcased her signature sarcasm and accurate grasp of Chinese urban hypocrisy, caught the attention of the country’s vigilant netizens at the beginning of 2015, when she worked with a former college classmate to post short videos on Sina Weibo. In most of her videos, she takes multiple roles as director, scriptwriter, actress, cameraman and editor, with every creation ending with the catchline "I'm Papi Jiang, the combination of beauty and talent."
Her most acclaimed videos include one that is titled Are you ready for the upcoming Spring Festival, a series of videos mimicking a north China girl trying to speak in the coaxing Taiwan style, and a cycle of works about how Shanghai white-collar office ladies are obsessed with showing off their English skills together with the Shanghai dialect in daily conversations. Spring Festival, a side-splitting monologue that touches on the heartbreak of China’s ‘leftover’ women who are put through their paces each year by nosey family members, became an instant hit in the wake of the Spring Festival break. In less than six months, Papi Jiang’s fans rose to a whopping 8 million on her Weibo account, and her videos have been watched at least 100 million times on various video sharing websites. She launched her debut on WeChat in September of 2015. A post titled ‘WeChat drives me crazy’, published on January 18, 2016, drew more than 70 million ‘likes’ from China’s ‘WeChat community’.
The Online Celebrity List 2015, released by China Internet Weekly in early March, ranks Papi Jiang second only to Wang Sicong, son of Wang Jianlin, China's richest man and chairman of mainland property and entertainment conglomerate Wanda Group.
However, the sensation was followed only weeks later by an official request by the country’s watchdog that the videos containing “swear words and insulting language” be taken down.
It is estimated that there are more than 1 million Internet celebrities, or ‘wang hong’, in China. Many of these ‘web reds’ went viral by making and sharing parody-style and whimsical (or nonsense) live videos.
Jiang’s online debut, that showcased her signature sarcasm on Chinese urban hypocrisy, caught the attention of the country’s vigilant netizens at the beginning of 2015.