China’s Internet Celebrities

With all of the intelligent value that the Internet brings also comes oddity. Put on some bizarre make-up, crack a couple jokes and make a million dollars. Or just film a porn and you’re good for life. Honestly, where will it all end?

0916_wtdwAlways seen in pants that hardly conceal his entire rear end and a shirt that intends to expose his toned midriff, Sisdon, or Sister Xiao Dong, has become rather well known (or perhaps notorious) for his sexy figure and hot dances.

In a recent photo series taken by W Studio, he curled his tiny ass towards the sky and showcased his thin, long legs with a coquettish stare. That little stunt brought him more than 75,000 views on a single WeChat post.

His fame all started while studying art at Dongguan City College when his controversial persona was shamelessly exposed in a conservative society and was noticed, impressing the whole school. Blessed with a round butt, elongated legs, taut abs and a girly face, he has become Dongguan’s up-and-coming online star in “Wang Hong,” China’s online celebrity community.

“I have a flirtatious and revealing kind of effeminateness, and that’s why I’m so eye-catching,” Sisdon told HERE! “I’ve been always like this and started to get attention when I wore mini-pants in high school. At that time, I could better control what I wore.” Thanks to Weibo, one of the most successful platforms for Wang Hong, he’s garnered over 7,000 followers. He’s also started showing up on Momo, a popular, live-streaming app, to engage with fans using his signature dances.

Unveiling a strange new world

The first generation of Wang Hong appeared around 2004 when QQ dominated university students’ online life. Although they weren’t exactly talented, people still favored them because it was the first time that a grass-roots movement could create celebrities so easily. For example, Sister Furong, or Sister Lotus, became hugely popular in 2005 and had no obvious talent, except for being a self-proclaimed dancing expert.

After the industry spent 10 years developing social media, today’s online stars are not only required to have a pretty face, but also must have some special skill, wealth or intriguing experience that draws in people’s attention. In the 2015 Web Celebrity List released by China Internet Weekly, which ranked Chinese online celebrities according to their reputation, creativity and influence, 28 year-old Wang Sicong, the only son of China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, unsurprisingly took the top position. Nicknamed The People’s Husband thanks to his large female fan base, his appeal is in his playboy-esque promiscuity and over-the-top antics, like reportedly spending 2.5 million RMB at a KTV on a single night.

“I pay attention to him because I’m confused how he can be even more beautiful than me, a girl. I think people like to look at him because he is different.”

Sometimes a Cinderella-styled character will draw great attention, as well. Ranked No. 10 is the 23 year-old Zhang Zetian, or milk tea girl. She originally got famous after she was hitched with e-commerce guru Richard Liu, founder of JD.com, despite a 19-year age difference. Still, before she met Richard in 2009, she was already fairly well known for a photo of her holding a cup of milk tea. People seemed to find her sweet and cute look charming for its unspoiled quality.

In Sisdon’s case, he’s just a man with oddly attractive female features. “I pay attention to him because I’m confused how he can be even more beautiful than me, a girl. I think people like to look at him because he is different,” said Jone, a student also from Dongguan City College.

After a decade of growth, the Wang Hong economy—with more than 1 million online celebrities—is now reportedly worth more than China’s movie business in 2015 at 58 billion RMB. Shockingly, this new profession has formed into a complete industrial chain, earning as large amounts of cash as traditional celebrities, while providing hordes of jobs. In a phrase, it has become a reasonable shortcut to fame for many youngsters today.

According to taobao.com, China’s largest online shopping website, owned by Alibaba, there are now over 1,000 shops run by internet celebrities, which often sit at the top of sales charts during major online shopping events like Double 11 Day on November 11 (Single’s Day). Many of these shops sell women’s clothes and when these celebrities wear the stylish outfits to parties, fancy restaurants and social events, they increase sales dramatically. Even the relatively modest fame held by Sisdon has brought him opportunities to appear in short movies, commercials and secure gigs doing MC work.

What’s sure is that these online sensations are here to stay, and whether or not that’s a good thing is up for debate. If you haven’t yet explored your weird and wild side, give it a shot. It may be your ticket to money and fame, or it may be the biggest embarrassment of your life. Either way, it’s all pretty exciting.