It is needless to say that the Korean Drama “My Love from the Star” (“Star Love” for short) has set off a new Korean wave in China. Actor Kim Soo-hyun, who plays the leading male character Do Min-joon in the drama series has been referred to as a “男神” (Male God) by his Chinese fans.
It is reported that the show has been played more than 1.6 billion (that’s with a B) times on China’s major domestic video sites such as LeTV and Aiqiyi, and has also been searched up to 200million times a day. A lipstick from Yves Saint Laurent that is used by the leading actress, Jun Ji-hyun, is sold out of stock in China, as everyone clambers to aspire to her beauty.
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John Lewis using "My Love from the Star" to sell lipstick to Chinese consumers[/caption] I could not help but wonder, what sort of effect “Star Love” has on social media today?
Many “ Star Love” related topics have become a hot topic on Weibo, the Chinese answer to Twitter and Facebook. The most popular hashtag trend being #my love from the star# has been discussed more than 28 million times. The line “we should be eating fried chicken and drinking beer during the first snow“, which was said by the leading female role, Cheon Song-yi (played by Jun Ji-Hyun) has created a new expression that is instantly recognisable to fans of the show. Chinese actress Gao Yuanyuan posted a photo of herself with the description “ Fist snow today but where is my fried chicken and beer? ” on her Weibo and this has been reposted almost 20,000 times.
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Gao Yuanyuan’s fried chicken and beer post has achieved almost 20,000 reposts.[/caption] China’s biggest IM tool, Wechat has also taken action, as long as your message contains keywords such as “Beer” “Fried Chicken” then snowflakes will appear on your conversation window.
Apart from Weibo and Wechat, these two essential local social tools, Japanese IM application LINE has also used product placement in this drama, which has lead to a sharp increase in downloads of the social media app.
In the drama, Cheon Song-yi always uses LINE to contact Do Min-joon. If you look closely, you will find that Cheon Song-yi only has three contacts in her Line. Apart from Do Min-joon and LINE’s official account there is also LINE China. LINE has realised the popularity of the show amongst Chinese audiences and have cleverly use this as a way to promote their app to the largest demographic of social media users in the world.
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LINE China is one of Cheon Song-yi’s contacts.[/caption] Currently, LINE has already been searched over 100 million times on Baidu, China’s biggest search engine. After “ Star Love” LINE saw an increase in the download of its app by over 60 million times. By the 27th Feb, LINE has also jumped to NO.9 in the China App store. Because of “Star love”, the popularity of LINE in the hotly contested Chinese social media market has increased significantly.
According to the research from Onavo Insights, the usage of IM app’s shows a huge difference based on location. In North America, Facebook messenger and Whatspp are the most popular apps with 12% and 9% market share each. However, in Europe, Whatsapp is the leader with over 90% market share.
In Asia, it is a whole different story. Wechat, with 82% of users tops the chart and is followed by Whatsapp with 15% market share. LINE has 11% and sits in third place. In Japan, there are up to 71% users using LINE while South Korea’s mainstream IM product is Kakao Talk with 95% users and LINE only has 12%.
Although LINE is making efforts to crack the China mainland market, the domestic apps still reign supreme, and Wechat is still the preferred method of communication amongst Chinese.
Article by: River Huang, Jimmy Robinson