The top 5 celebrities with the most followers on Twitter have been unchanged for a long time.
They are Katy Perry (@katyperry, 107+ million followers), Justin Bieber (@justinbieber, 104+ million), Barack Obama (@BarackObama, 102+M), Rihanna (@rihanna, 88+M), and Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13, 83+M).
The top 10 of Weibo celebrities with the most followers has also barely changed over the past years. And yet, the names of Xie Na or Yang Mi might not sound as familiar to many outside of China.
Although most of the names in the list are still the same as before, there are some changes too. Both AngelaBaby and Yang Mi have gained respectively more than 16 and 25 million fans since 2017. Guo Degang is no longer in the top 10, and has been taken over by the only newcomer in this top 10: Deng Chao.
Check out the latest changes and introductions here! >
1. Xie Na 谢娜
The one and only absolute number one this list is the ‘Queen of Weibo’ Xie Na (1981), also nicknamed ‘Nana’ – the extremely popular Chinese singer, actress and designer.
One of the reasons she has become so famous in mainland China is that she is the co-host of Happy Camp (快乐大本管), which is one of China’s most popular variety TV shows. She presents the show together with, amongst others, colleague He Jiong, who is the number two in this list.
Xie Na stars in many popular Chinese films and television series. She has also released several albums, founded a personal clothing line, and published two books.
Xie Na made headlines in March 2017, becoming #1 trending topic on Weibo, when she announced she would go to Italy as an overseas student to study design.
In 2018, Xie Na participated in the Mango TV television programme ‘Viva La Romance’ (妻子的浪漫旅行), in which couples reflect on their marriage and relationship, with her husband Zhang Jie, with whom she had twin daughters earlier in 2018.
Before getting married to Chinese singer Zhang Jie, Xie Na was in a 6-year relationship with her ‘Happy Camp’ colleague Liu Ye.
2. He Jiong 何炅
He Jiong (1974) has been the host of China’s popular Happy Camp TV show for over ten years. He is also a singer, actor, and used to be an Arabic teacher at Beijing’s Foreign Studies University. Chinese media have called He Jiong “a key figure in China’s entertainment industry.”
‘Happy Camp’ (快乐大本馆) is a prime-time variety show aired by Hunan TV. It is one of China’s most popular TV shows in China. With a viewership of tens of millions, it often holds first place in China’s total viewing ratings.
In 2017, both He Jiong and Xie Na made it to the Guinness Book of Records for being the male and female with the most Weibo followers.
3. Yang Mi 杨幂
The beautiful actress and singer Yang Mi (1986) went from number 8 to 4 in this list since last year. She gained fame and popularity through her various roles in Chinese hit tv dramas. Born in Beijing, Yang started her acting career at the age of 4.
Yang starred in many successful tv dramas, including in Eternal Love (三生三世十里桃花) and The Interpreters (亲爱的翻译官). Yang is now seen as one of China’s biggest actresses, and also as one with the most commercial value; she recently became the brand ambassador for Estee Lauder (雅诗兰黛) in 2017 and also became a new face for Michael Kors in that same year.
This year, Yang stars in the much-anticipated movie Baby (宝贝儿), in which she plays a poor girl that is fighting for the life of a baby with disabilities.
4. Angelababy 杨颖
‘Angelababy’ (nickname for Yang Ying aka Angela Yeung, 1989) has practically become a household name in China over the past few years. The actress and model started her acting career in 2007 and has taken on many roles in different movies and TV dramas.
Angelababy especially made headlines when she married Chinese famous actor Huang Xiaoming in 2015 and took extravagant pre-wedding photos in Paris. In the same year, she also set off a firestorm of debate when she underwent a medical examination to prove that she did not have facial plastic surgery to defend herself in a court case against a beauty clinic.
Angelababy is one of China’s “New Four Dan Actresses” according to the 2013 Southern Metropolis Daily, meaning she is generally perceived as one of China’s most bankable actresses.
5. Chen Kun 陈坤
Chinese top actor and singer Chen Kun (1979, Chongqing) was the number 3 last year, so he lost his top 3 position to Yang Mi and Angelababy.
He also plays in 2018 Chinese television series The Rise of Phoenixes (天盛长歌), which is also available on Netflix.
Chen Kun, sometimes also known as Aloys Chen, is not only popular because of his acting work, but also for his looks – he is known to have a large gay fanbase. He is not shy about his looks, and likes to post a lot of photos of himself on his Weibo page.
6. Vicky Zhao 赵薇
Still the number six in this list is Vicky Zhao (1976). Zhao is a Chinese film star, singer, entrepreneur and director. She is also known for her work as the face for various brands, which has added to her wealth: she was named the world’s wealthies working actress by Forbes in 2015 .
Together with actresses Zhang Ziyi, Zhou Xun and Xu Jinglei, she belongs to China’s ‘Four Dan Actresses’ (四大花旦, the four greatest actresses of mainland China) from the early 2000s. In the list of the ‘New Four Dan actresses’, there is Angelababy, number 4 in this list, who ironically is now the wife of Zhao’s former partner.
Zhao is now married to Huang Youlong, with whom she has a daughter. The couple made it to a list of the world’s wealthiest young billionaires in 2016. Zhao has a passion for wine; she bought her own vineyard in France in 2011.
Zhao Wei regularly updates her Weibo, where she posts about her work as an actress, her photoshoots, and her ambassador work for good causes.
7. Yao Chen 姚晨
In our 2015 list of Weibo’s biggest celebrities, Yao Chen was ranking first with 78 million followers. In our 2017 list, she ranked fifth with 80,5 million. But she has dropped in the number of people following her since then, thus also has dropping a few places in this list.
Fujian-born Yao Chen (1979) is a Chinese actress and Weibo celebrity, who was mentioned as the 83rd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine in 2014. Being the first-ever Chinese UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, she is also called ‘China’s answer to Angelina Jolie’ (Telegraph).
Yao Chen is not necessarily China’s number one actress, but she was one of the first celebrities to share her personal life on Weibo since 2009, and interact with her fans. On Weibo, she talks about her everyday life, family, news-related issues, work, and fashion. She posts personal pictures every day.
The combination of her popularity due to acting work, combined with her frequent Weibo updates and closeness to her fans, have made Yao Chen a huge Weibo celebrity.
This year, Yao stars in Lost, Found, a feminism-themed film released in October.
8. Ruby Lin 林心如
Ruby Lin Xinru (1976) is the first Taiwanese name in this list. She is an actress, producer, and singer, who especially became famous because of her role in TV drama My Fair Princess (1998). Since then she has starred in many different TV series.
Ruby is married to actor Wallace Huo, who starred in popular Chinese TV drama Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace (如懿传). They have one child together.
The couple has often been a target of cyberbullying, which is believed to be the reason why Huo closed his Weibo account in September of 2018. Lin posts regular updates on Weibo.
9. Deng Chao 邓超
Deng is the only newcomer in this top 10 list. Deng Chao (1979) is a Chinese actor, director, and singer. He is, amongst others, known for his role in the popular variety program ‘Keep Running’ (奔跑吧).
Films in which Deng played, such as The Mermaid (2016) or DuckweedThe Dead End (2015).
Shadow is an upcoming Chinese historical film directed by Zhang Yimou in which Deng also stars, together with his wife Sun Li (孙俪).
10. Jimmy Lin 林志颖
Jimmy Lin (Lin Zhiying, 1974) is a famous Taiwanese actor and singer and race car driver. He is one of the top rally racers of China, but is also very successful in his showbiz career as actor and singer.
Over the past few years, Lin’s participation in the Chinese hit reality show Where Are We Going, Dad? has contributed to his success on Weibo.
For some time Lin dated Ruby Lin, number 7 on this list. Now he is married to model Kelly Chen (陈若仪), with whom he has three children.
He regularly updates his Weibo profile, talking about his work, his personal life, and posting pictures of him with his race cars.
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China’s Top Mobile Gaming Apps
China has the largest mobile gaming market in the world. It’s an exciting market not just for game-lovers, but also for those into marketing and advertising.
One of the key drivers behind this online gaming environment is the fact that China is a mobile-first country. China’s average mobile user owns a relatively cheap but high-performance mobile phone, which enables them to play mobile games. As the quality of China’s smartphones keeps on rising, so are the possibilities and developments within China’s mobile gaming market.
The Chinese gaming industry is flourishing, but also highly controlled. Online games are allowed to be imported
To gain more insights in this enormous market, we list five of the mobile apps that currently play an important role in the mobile gaming industry. We made our selection based on the data from the Android app stores Tencent, Baidu, Huawei, and Zhushou360. We tried our best to give you a representative overview of a variety of apps that are currently most used in China, but want to remind you that these lists are by no official “top 5” charts.
This article is part of a series of five articles, listing popular Chinese apps in the categories of short video & live streaming, news, health & sports, and knowledge & education. We’ll list the other categories for you below this article, but let’s move over to review these popular mobile gaming apps now.
#1 PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds 绝地求生
PlayersUnknown’s Battleground (PUGB) is a so-called ‘sandbox style’ survival game, which basically means that gamers are allowed to freely roam and change the game, that does not have a set storyline, and that they are required to do all they can to survive as long as possible by eliminating its competitors.
In this online multiplayer game, that is called a Fortnite rival, players are placed together with up to 100 other players on an island. As the game proceeds, the battlefield gradually shrinks, putting more pressure on its players. The users have to assemble weapons and other necessities, and in doing so, need to kill their competitors and take their possessions. The last person left is the winner.
PUBG, which is currently the most popular mobile phone game app in China, was created by the South Korean Bluehole. In 2017, Chinese gaming giant Tencent launched the mobile app version of the game. The Chinese version is not entirely the same: it has been adapted to make sure it aligns with ‘socialist values.’
At the moment, there are two versions of PUGB games: Exciting Battlefield (刺激战场) and Full Ahead (全军出击). The games Exciting Battlefield and Full Ahead subsequently ranked most and third most popular game app in the Chinese Apple stores in 2018, with Exciting Battlefield reaching 14,9 million daily active users at the end of 2018. Currently, Exciting Battlefield still ranks the most popular game app in both the Tencent and Zhushou360 app stores.
#2 Honor of Kings or Kings of Glory 王者荣耀
Honor of Kings is a game developed and published by Tencent which was first launched in 2015. The game is a multiplayer online battle arena game, where players have to team up for a five-to-five battle.
Every user can personally assemble their hero and equip it with certain features such as appearance, powers, etc. The goal of the game is to destroy the opponent’s base.
In 2018, Honor of Kings was the second most popular game app in the Chinese Apple store with 53,8 million daily active users in the last quarter. This year, the game especially rose in popularity during the Chinese Lunar New Year: in the week from 4-10 February, Honor of Kings reached 92 million daily active users.
But the game’s popularity isn’t limited to China. In 2017, Tencent launched an international adaption of the game called Arena of Valor. The game was adopted as one of the games at the eSport Demonstration Event at the 2018 Asian Games, where the Chinese team won the gold medal.
#3 Speed QQ / QQ飞车
Speed QQ is a 3D game that combines both casual and competitive racing. The game has three kingdoms: wind, fire, and fantasy.
In each kingdom, there are different kinds of races, and players can move up levels if they beat other players. In the end, the strongest player of all will be crowned ‘king.’ To prove their skills, the best players of each kingdom can also race against each other in races played on racetracks on the border of the several kingdoms.
The game can be played by either a single player or multiplayer, with a maximum of six players.
Speed QQ, just as Honor of Kings and PUBG, is a game by Tencent – it is the world’s largest game distributor by revenue. Speed QQ was first launched in January 2008 as a PC version, and it was not until 2017 that the mobile app version was released.
#4 Identity V 第5人格
Identity V is a so-called asymmetric warfare game, meaning that the game is a wargame between individuals or a group of players and their hostile opponent.
The horror game, designed in gothic art style, is a one-versus-four multiplayer game. Later in the game, players can decide whether they want to play either the hunter or one of the four survivors.
However, the game is mainly a survivor-based game. The player first enters the game as a detective who receives a mysterious letter inviting the player to investigate an abandoned estate and search for a missing girl. As the player is searching for clues about the missing girl, a hunter will try to catch the player and strap it to a rocket ready for blast off. This is where the three other survivors come in; those are the ones who can free their fellow-survivor from the racket. But if they are too late, the player will be fired off and lose.
Identity V is the newest game app in our selection as it was launched in April of last year by NetEase. Despite its short period on the market, the game gained significant success. The app was the fifth most popular game app in Chinese Apple stores in 2018, with over 26 million downloads.
#5 Mini World 迷你世界
Mini World is a 3D sandbox style game, allowing its users to roam around in the virtual world of the game.
Mini World, also called a block art game, allows its players to build their world by moving around blocks and placing other elements. They can do this alone, but they can also invite friends and create a dream world together. The game closely resembles the Swedish game Minecraft (我的世界), which is also available in China.
Mini World was first launched in December 2015 by a Shenzhen based company. A couple of years later, the game was available in both Android and Apple stores. In 2018, Mini World became the fourth most popular game app in China with 3.7 million daily active users in the third quarter.
- Top 5 of China’s Most Popular Live Streaming and Short Video Apps
- Overview of Top 6 Chinese News Apps
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Here Comes Trump the Chinese Opera, Starring Mao Zedong and Kim Jong-un
In “Trump the Opera”, Trump sings and plays ping pong.
“Enjoy this ‘one country, two systems’ creative freedom,” is one of the slogans promoting a new Hong Kong opera production that features US President Trump – played by the same actor who also played Mao Zedong – and North-Korean leader Kim Jong-un, presenting a story revolving around the modern history and current situation of China-US relations and international politics in the form of traditional Chinese art.
The opera, titled “Cantonese Opera Trump” (粵劇特朗普) was written by Fengshui master and playwright Li Kuiming (李居明), who likes to mix up traditional opera with creative new storylines. In this production, ‘Trump’ allegedly will not just be singing; he’ll be playing ping-pong, too.
Promotion posters for the show have attracted the attention of some Weibo netizens, with some calling it “unimaginable.”
This opera is the 34th production made by Li Kuiming, who has some 1,4 million fans on Weibo. Three years ago, Li made headlines for his controversial Chairman Mao opera that explored the private life of Mao Zedong and also featured a scene in which Mao comes back from the dead to talk to Chiang Kai-shek.
The current opera is a sequel to the 2016 production, featuring the same actor, Long Guantian (龍貫天), as President Trump. The role of Kim Jong-un will be performed by Chen Hongjin (陳鴻進).
The press conference for the new opera took place on March 1st, just after the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi ended without a deal. The actors taking on the roles of Trump and Kim, however, posed together shaking hands.
Despite the somewhat controversial theme of the opera, the Singtao Daily writes that Li Kuiming’s production “avoids politically sensitive topics as much as possible.”
“Through this opera, I want to analyze China-USA relations,” Li told reporters: “China and the US have had very good relations for a long time (..), Nixon’s  visit to China marked the friendship between the two countries. At present, the China-US friendship has turned into a struggle.”
Li called it “a gift from heaven” that he was able to get performer Long Guantian to play Mao Zedong previously, praising his “enormous flexibility” in the roles he is able to take on. “For [his] role of Trump, I’ve read many books and thoroughly researched the life and thinking of Trump.”
One reason for the opera to stir some discussions on Chinese social media, is the fact that its promotional poster states that the “three roles” of “Trump, Trump, and Mao Zedong” are all performed by the same actor (Long Guantian).
The name of ‘Trump’ is written in two different ways on the poster, causing much confusion among netizens, who write: “I thought there was only one Trump?!” (To understand more about the two Chinese names of Trump, check this article). It is not clear if there will indeed be two ‘Trumps’ starring in the production or why the poster mentions the name of Trump two times.
The Mingpao newspaper reported that Li has high hopes for this production, quoting: “I have a friend who knows Trump, and who suggested bringing this opera to the White House so that Trump can enjoy it. We could translate it. If I’d ever be invited, of course, I wouldn’t say no.” He also added that he “wouldn’t have the courage” to perform the opera in North Korea.
The opera will be performed at the Hong Kong Sunbeam Theatre from April 12 to April 15. “I guarantee it will be good,” Li says: “If it wouldn’t be good, I wouldn’t put it on stage.”
By Manya Koetse
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