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China’s ‘Kim Kardashian’ Sparks Controversy as Dior’s New Brand Ambassador

With over 80 million Weibo fans, China’s ‘Kim Kardashian’ Yang Ying a.k.a. Angelababy is one of China’s most-followed celebrities on social media. Despite her many Weibo fans, Chinese Dior lovers are not happy about her recent appointment as the brand’s ambassador. This article was originally posted by our friends at Jing Daily.

Yiling Pan

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With over 80 million Weibo fans, “China’s Kim Kardashian” Yang Ying a.k.a. Angelababy is one of China’s most-followed celebrities on social media. Despite her many Weibo fans, Chinese Dior lovers are not happy about her recent appointment as the brand’s ambassador. – This article was originally posted by our friends at Jing Daily. –

Parisian fashion powerhouse Christian Dior is being harshly criticized on social media for its appointment of Chinese actress Yang Ying, aka Angelababy, as its first brand ambassador in China. Yang, who has been called the “Kim Kardashian of China” (and spent $31 million on her wedding—more than Kardashian spent on hers), said in a video that Dior is her “favorite brand.”

Almost immediately upon publication on Dior’s official Weibo and WeChat accounts on April 28, the news exploded on China’s social media. By the time of this publication, the number of comments under the original Weibo post topped 50,000 (and it’s been reposted more than 750,000 times), dwarfing Dior’s average Weibo engagement.

“Shocking!” wrote “William sabixi” on Weibo. “Why did Dior decide to destroy its high-end public image?”

Another commenter, “BETTERemma,” wrote: “Does Dior really believe Angelababy can boost its sales? The brand should really do more market research when making decisions like this one.”

The Controversy Stems from Claims of Plastic Surgery

The discontent by the Chinese online community with Yang’s new role at Dior stems in part from the controversy surrounding reports that she had had plastic surgery.

In 2012, Ruili, a beauty clinic in Beijing, published an article on its website claiming Yang had had plastic surgery. Yang sued the clinic for defamation and the case dragged on in court for several years, resulting in a bizarre public examination of the actress’s face at a plastic surgery hospital in Beijing. The hospital’s chief claimed her looks were authentic, saying, according to the BBC, “Baby’s entire head and facial bones do not have any signs of incisions.”

Critics also contend that Yang, who rose to fame in 2014 on the reality television show Hurry Up, Brother and who started a venture capital fund (AB Capital) for investments in women’s lifestyle start-ups, pales in comparison to the brand’s roster of previous international ambassadors, including A-list Hollywood celebrities Charlize Theron and Natalie Portman.

Dior has worked closely with another Chinese address Liu Yifei in the past, which has aroused the curiosity among Chinese people why Liu was not chosen as the brand’s ambassador.

Some consumers have even pledged to stop purchasing Dior products as a result of Yang’s appointment.

“It’s time for me to say goodbye to the brand that I’ve loved for more than 10 years,” said one commenter.

The Brand’s Response, or Lack Thereof

So far, the brand has been mum over the fierce reactions online and Dior representatives have not responded to a request for comment from this site. Since that initial announcement, there have also been no further posts about Yang on the official account, which has featured instead several commercials with the supermodel Bella Hadid.

The hubbub is similar to one experienced years ago by another French luxury brand, Chanel, when it appointed Hong Kong-born American singer Coco Lee as its regional ambassador. Consumers in Hong Kong at the time thought Lee’s public image was too disgraceful to represent the brand. The furor caused Chanel to finally end its relationship with Lee. Swiss watchmaker Jaeger LeCoultre’s recent collaboration with sensational online blogger Papi Jiang met with similar criticism.

But other collaborations of this kind have fared better with young Chinese audiences. Burberry’s collaboration with Chinese-born Canadian boy band star Kris Wu was popular as was singer Luhan as the face of Cartier.

The announcement of the arrangement with Yang came just days after luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessey bought out minority shareholders at Christian Dior for $13 billion.

– By Yiling (Sienna) Pan for @JingDaily

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©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Yiling (Sienna) Pan is a Luxury Business and Fashion Reporter at Jing Daily. She revels in the challenge of working in a fast-paced environment and presenting Chinese consumer trends to Western readers. Her coverage of the Chinese luxury industry combines a native perspective with her background in finance. Yiling is an alumnus of Thomson Reuters News Agency in Shanghai and she holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Columbia University.

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Female Comedian Yang Li and the Intel Controversy

A decision that backfired: Intel’s act of supposed ‘inclusion’ caused the exclusion of female comedian Yang Li.

Manya Koetse

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“How to look at the boycott of Yang Li?” (#如何看待抵制杨笠#) became a top trending topic on social media site Weibo on Monday after female comedian Yang Li was dismissed as the spokesperson for American tech company Intel over a controversial ad campaign.

On March 18, Intel released an ad on its Weibo account in which Yang says “Intel has a taste [for laptops] that is higher than my taste for men” (“英特尔的眼光太高了,比我挑对象的眼光都高.”)

The ad drew complaints for allegedly insulting men, with some social media users vowing to boycott the tech brand. On Sunday, Intel deleted the ad in question from its social media page and reportedly also removed Yang from her position as their brand ambassador.

The commotion over the ad had more to do with Chinese comedian Yang Li (杨笠) than with the specific lines that were featured in it.

Yang Li is controversial for her jokes mocking men (“men are adorable, but mysterious. After all, they can look so average and yet be so full of confidence“), with some blaming her for being “sexist” and “promoting hatred against all men.”

Since she appeared on the stand-up comedy TV competition Rock and Roast (脱口秀大会) last year, she was nicknamed the the “punchline queen” and became one of the more influential comedians in present-day China. Yang now has nearly 1,5 million fans on Weibo (@-杨笠-).

Yang Li’s bold jokes and sharp way of talking about gender roles and differences between men and women in Chinese society is one of the main reasons she became so famous. Intel surely knew this when asking Yang to be their brand ambassador.

In light of the controversy, the fact that Intel was so quick to remove Yang also triggered criticism. Some (male) netizens felt that Intel, a company that sells laptops, could not be represented by a woman who makes fun of men, while these men are a supposed target audience for Intel products.

But after Yang was removed, many (female) netizens also felt offended, suggesting that in the 21st century, Intel couldn’t possibly believe that their products were mainly intended for men (“以男性用户为主”)? Wasn’t their female customer base just as important?

According to online reports, Intel responded by saying: “We noted that the content [we] spread relating to Yang Li caused controversy, and this is not what we had anticipated. We place great importance on diversity and inclusion. We fully recognize and value the diverse world we live in, and are committed to working with partners from all walks of life to create an inclusive workplace and social environment.”

However, Intel’s decision backfired, as many wondered why having Yang as their brand ambassador would not go hand in hand with ‘promoting an inclusive social environment.’

“Who are you being ‘inclusive’ too? Common ‘confident’ men?”, one person wrote, with others saying: “Why can so many beauty and cosmetic brands be represented by male idols and celebrities? I loathe these double standards.”

“As a Chinese guy, I really think Yang Li is funny. I didn’t realize Chinese men had such a lack of humor!” another Weibo user writes.

There are also people raising the issue of Yang’s position and how people are confusing her performative work with her actual character. One popular law blogger wrote: “Really, boycotting Yang Li is meaningless. Stand-up comedy is a performance, just as the roles people play in a TV drama.”

Just a month ago, another Chinese comedian also came under fire for his work as a brand ambassador for female underwear brand Ubras.

It is extremely common in China for celebrities to be brand ambassadors; virtually every big celebrity is tied to one or more brands. Signing male celebrities to promote female-targeted products is also a popular trend (Li 2020). Apparently, there is still a long way to go when the tables are turned – especially when it is about female celebrities with a sharp tongue.

By Manya Koetse

Li, Xiaomeng. 2020. “How powerful is the female gaze? The implication of using male celebrities for promoting female cosmetics in China.” Global Media and China, Vol.5 (1), p.55-68.

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©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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The Online Hit of the China-US Meeting in Alaska: Interpreter Zhang Jing

While the China-US meeting is all the talk, it is interpreter Zhang Jing who has hit the limelight.

Manya Koetse

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It probably was not easy to translate the tough talks at the high-level meeting between the U.S. and China in Anchorage. Chinese female translator Zhang Jing became an online hit in China for remaining unflustered, graceful, and accurate.

Over the past days, the U.S.-China strategic talks in Anchorage have been a major topic of discussion on Chinese social media.

The first major U.S.-China meeting of the Biden administration ended on Friday, March 19. Despite the tense start of the meeting and some describing the talks as a “diplomatic clash,” China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi (杨洁篪) called the meeting “frank, constructive and helpful,” New York Times reports.

While international media focused on the meeting and what their outcome means for Sino-American relations and the foreign strategies of China and the U.S., many Weibo users focused on interpreter Zhang Jing (张京) who joined the meeting.

One video of the first session of the diplomatic talks shows how Yang Jiechi starts his response to the American side at 8.30 minutes, going on for over 15 minutes until the 24.36-minute mark. Next to him, interpreter Zhang Jing is fiercely taking notes.

When Yang is finished speaking, he glances to foreign minister Wang Yi on his right to let him speak, after which Zhang says, “Shall I first translate?”

While the U.S. side was awaiting the translation, Yang then says: “Ok, you translate,” adding in English: “It’s a test for the interpreter,” after which the American side says “We’re gonna give the translator a raise!”

Zhang then goes ahead and calmly translates Yang’s entire 15-minute speech directed at American secretary Blinken and national security advisor Sullivan.

To give a speedy translation of such a lengthy off-the-record speech is seen as a sign of Zhang’s utmost professionalism as an interpreter, which many on Weibo praise. “She’s my idol,” multiple people write.

On Sunday, the hashtag “China-U.S. Talks Female Interpreter Zhang Jing” (#中美对话女翻译官张京#) had reached 200 million views.

It’s not the first time for Zhang to become an online hit. She was previously also called “the most beautiful interpreter” of the National Congress in 2013.

Zhang Jing is a graduate of the China Foreign Affairs University (外交学院) and has been working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2007.

Being an interpreter is generally regarded an exciting and attractive job by many Chinese netizens, as the career involves much traveling and international contacts. But the ability to master another language than Chinese is also often admired.

In 2016, a TV drama titled The Interpreters (亲爱的翻译官) became a major hit, featuring Chinese actress Yang Mi who plays a Chinese-French interpreter on her way to start her professional career.

“Translators are usually the ‘heroes behind the scenes’,” one commenter writes, pointing out how rare it is for an interpreter to hit the limelight like this.

“There are still people saying it’s not important to learn English,” another Weibo user writes: “But if that were true, how could we educate brilliant interpreters like Zhang Jing? How else could we quarrel with Americans at the conference table?!”

Many who write about Zhang on Weibo say that she is an example or a role model to them: “I hope that my spoken English one day would be as excellent as hers. This motivates me to try even harder.”

By Manya Koetse

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©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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