Wanghong as Social Media Entertainment in China

David Craig, Jian Lin, Stuart Cunningham

Research output: Book/ReportOtherpeer-review


Explores how China has built an alternative online ecosystem based around state-based intervention while nurturing the growth of their own platforms in a parallel online universe to that of the West.Uses research framed by an emerging and rapidly advancing subfield of media studies involving social media, influencers, creator industries, and creator culture.Deploys a broad range of research methods including online research, content and discourse analysis of Chinese-language social media and news accounts, industry reports, observation and analysis of media content, and original interview fieldwork.In Chinese, the term wanghong refers to creators, social media entrepreneurs alternatively known as KOLs (key opinion leaders) and zhubo (showroom hosts), influencers and micro-celebrities. Wanghong also refers to an emerging media ecology in which these creators cultivate online communities for cultural and commercial value by harnessing Chinese social media platforms, like Weibo, WeChat, Douyu, Huya, Bilibili, Douyin, and Kuaishuo. Framed by the concepts of cultural, creative, and social industries, the book maps the development of wanghong policies and platforms, labor and management, content and culture, as they operate in contrast to its non-Chinese counterpart, social media entertainment, driven by platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch. As evidenced by the backlash to TikTok, the threat of competition from global wanghong signals advancing platform nationalism.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages197
ISBN (Print)9783030653750, 9783030653781
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Globalization, Culture and Society


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