China’s new favourite documentary and Weibo

May 6, 2014


A Bite of China is a Chinese documentary series exploring stories of nature, culture, and history through food and is produced by China Central Television (CCTV). The first season of the hit show caused a traditional Chinese cuisine craze that swept across China. The second season aired just a couple of weeks ago, reaching audiences on the 18th April 2014. The first episode “Footsteps” has seen a rather spectacular online audience view rate of 1.572% on popular video sharing websites. At the same time, it has been causing a buzz on social media, maintaining a top “hot topic” ranking for Chinese cuisine on Weibo.


It is unarguably a well produced documentary, but has managed to garner a huge following, that is rarely seen for a documentary of this type, and is normally reserved for hit drama TV shows A lot of the success of this documentary has been how they have approached there social media marketing, especially the use of Weibo as a communication, marketing and interactive platform.

Chen Xiaoqing, the producer of the documentary is a well-known Chinese director and columnist. He has almost one million Weibo followers amongst which are quite a few celebrity fans. He has played an important role in promoting the show on Weibo, and the official Weibo account of the documentary has also cooperated with some key influencers in relevant industries to raise awareness of the show and have organised competitions as well as activities on Weibo to engage with fans and viewers of the documentary.

The hash tag topic function of Weibo has also been tightly integrated during the main promotion period of the show. The topic #A Bite of China# has lead to new hot topics in different cities and regions within China, such as #A Bite of Shanghai#, #A Bite of Beijing#. Sina (the company who owns Weibo) has paid attention to this trend and began engaging with their own followers with the topic: #use one dish to tell people where you come from# (#一道菜证明你是哪里人#), this has now discussed over 180,000 times in less than one-week. The UK has not been left out of this #A Bite of UK# is also gaining traction…although the focus on fish and chips by one Weibo fan certainly ignores other delicious dishes enjoying by the fine people of the UK, such as the ever “delicious” fried mars bar in Scotland.

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One Weibo fan expressed his view that #A bite of the UK# would only have one episode called “fish and chips”, it has been reposted more than 30,000 times[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2611" align="aligncenter" width="300"]

BA Weibo Post[/caption]

British Airways has also joined the club in poking fun at the UK’s reputation for food on Weibo with this funny post about #a bite of UK# “Who says the UK doesn’t have delicious food?! Season one would highlight fish and chips, and well season 2 can show even more fish and chips….”. By riding the coat tails of such a popular topic BA have achieved 226 reposts, making it one of the most popular post for BA on Weibo ever. 

Article by: River Huang, Jimmy Robinson