#39 Star power in China


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China’s entertainment industry has undergone staggering changes over the past two decades. The content, the ways it’s delivered, and even the stars themselves are taking shape in a manner that is unique to China and reflects a new type of user — one who has come of age in the digital era. Provincial governments partner with stars to sell goods as arbitrary as farm equipment. Kim Kardashian has collaborated with famous livestreamers to sell perfume. 

Joining Aladin Farré on the Middle Earth podcast are Kevin Feng (talent agent and producer), Allison Jiang (cultural writer at RADII), and Marian Mationg (writer at DramaPanda). They share their views on how the budding Chinese entertainment industry is being shaped by technology and the internet; how Chinese dramas, songs, and TV are received around the world; the power of Chinese fandom; and more. 

Middle Earth is made by China Compass Productions. If you have a China-themed cultural project, please get in touch!

With thanks to Brenden Gonsalves for graphic design and Sean Calvo for music support.


Win a free month of OVID.tv, which distributes exclusive Chinese films, by sharing your favorite Middle Earth episode on social media. Send Aladin a screenshot on Twitter for a chance to win! 

Thank you to 247tickets for offering vouchers to the quiz winner.


Mark Chao (Zhào Yòutíng 趙又廷), a Taiwanese-Canadian actor and model.

Jackson Wang (Wáng Jiā’ěr 王嘉尔), a Hong Kong rapper, singer, and dancer.

Huáng Bó 黄渤, a Chinese actor and singer.  

Answers to the quiz:

Ruǎn Língyù 阮玲玉 is a Chinese star who killed herself in 1936.

Saving Mr. Wu (2015) is the Chinese film based on the Chinese actor Wú Ruòfǔ’s 吴若甫 real abduction in 2004.

Jackie Chan’s son was arrested for drug use while having an out-of-wedlock daughter.

A 2018 scandal involving actress Fàn Bīngbīng’s 范冰冰 “fake” contracts from a film project were worth $1.6 million.