China Targets Extreme Internet Fandoms in a New Crackdown

At its most excessive, the devotion to a superstar might be “like an online addiction,” says Fung. In a 2019 article, he describes a symbiosis between on-line fan teams and streaming applications. His analysis assistant spent 4 months following the Tencent Video pop-group creation present Produce 101, and took part in fan teams on Tencent’s platform, Doki. Fans are inspired to log in every day as a result of these visits are factored into an idol’s rankings; some pay for promotions and rally votes. The analysis assistant’s participation in a paid on-line fan circle and her efforts to rally help for a contestant in the end earned her an invite to affix a VIP fan group and a ticket to the present’s finale, the place scalped tickets have been going for greater than $400 on-line.

These younger folks, typically solely kids, face grueling tutorial calls for and stress from mother and father and grandparents to succeed. Celebrity fandom provides an escape, says Zhao, who helps deal with social media for a common singer-songwriter, and requested to be recognized solely by her surname.

Zhao says that for some contributors, fan teams “may be the first and only communities they take the initiative to join.” The golf equipment permit them to commune just about with folks they in any other case would don’t have any entry to—reminiscent of “the manager of the fan groups who may be a Harvard graduate or daughter of the mayor.”

But the acute devotion worries some Chinese mother and father, says Grace Zhang, a mother or father and former editor at a family-themed magazine called JingKids. “The pursuit of fame and money has become the goal of life for some young people, rather than pursuing the true meaning of their lives,” she says.

Xia Wei, the mother or father of a middle-school-aged lady in Shanghai, favors these legal guidelines as a result of she worries Chinese youth would in any other case “blindly worship stars all day. It’s bad for their studies.” Wang Jun, the mom of a preteen in Beijing, says the cash lavished on stars is offensive, as a result of these idols ”have already got excessive incomes, and aren’t value mother and father’ hard-earned wages.”

With the brand new guidelines, the federal government hopes to curry favor with mother and father like these, says Perry Link, a professor at UC Riverside. He says the ruling Communist Party doesn’t care a lot about younger folks losing money and time chasing idols, nor the ethical character of these idols. But if mother and father consider the occasion is on their facet, it helps solidify its energy.

The rules promise to shake up China’s cultural scene. Zhao, the social media manager, says traditional singers and actors may regain popularity lost to performers with rabid fan groups who pushed their favorites with frenzied online activity. Brands may also “think about whether they rely too much on celebrity effects and fan club culture, while ignoring their own DNA and brand image,” says Sophia Dumenil, cofounder of The Chinese Pulse, a Paris-based creative consulting agency that studies trends in fashion and luxury markets.

Luxury, style, and wonder manufacturers will probably pivot to extra endorsements from straight-laced Olympic athletes and even collaborations with virtual influencers, she provides. Online video platforms like iQiyi and Tencent Video could endure with out their broadly watched idol pop reveals, however they might look to develop new types of programming—and a few really feel the idol-competition format was getting stale. Neither platform responded to questions.

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