China’s cultural products grow more popular in overseas markets

In recent years, China’s cultural products, including online games, TV programs and series, and short video platforms, have gained increasing popularity in the overseas market.

Chinese mobile games made great strides in the U.S., taking 21 spots out of the 100 top-grossing games in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a report from American technology media company Techcrunch.

The report said that these products collectively generated $780 million in revenues, more than triple the amount from two years previously, and contributed as much as 20 percent of the mobile gaming revenues in the U.S.


Popular Chinese mobile games “Honor of Kings” and “Genshin Impact” were downloaded more than 10 million times from the U.S. Google Play Store.

Justin, a college student majoring in animation from the University of Washington, cites himself as a fan of “Genshin Impact”. He believes that the game’s image processing and background music are comparable to those of a blockbuster film.

When the game became one of the six highest-grossing mobile games in the U.S. in the second half of last year, many American players rated it as a “triple-A” game with stunning graphics, rich content and fine details.

Chinese mobile games have also made their presence felt in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other Southeast Asian countries. The game “Mobile Legends” boasts 14 million monthly active users in the Philippines and 80 million in Indonesia, with the latter reporting 100 million downloads of the game.

“Mobile Legends” was also included in the e-sports competition during the Southeast Asian Games hosted in the Philippines in 2019.

Experts attributed the successful expansion of Chinese mobile games in the global market to the tailored redesign of the games.

For example, the developer of “Honor of Kings” reinvented the game’s characters for the global edition. In the Chinese version, the characters are largely adapted from classical Chinese literary works and myths that are unfamiliar to foreign players. The developer westernized these Chinese characters and added western settings in the gaming scenarios to make the game more easily received by foreign players while inspiring them to learn about Chinese history and traditional culture.

China’s streaming platforms have also grown immensely popular with users around the world, especially in Southeast Asia, where a batch of Chinese entertainment shows have succeeded in attracting large audiences.

Among them, popular Chinese recreational TV programs “Chuang 2020” and “Chuang 2021” produced by Tencent Video, a major Chinese online video streaming platform, were so popular in Thailand that it soon became one of the most searched hashtags on the country’s social media.

Due to the popularity of “Chuang 2021”, the platform garnered more than 400,000 newly-registered users in Thailand, according to the Thai branch of Tencent Video. Chinese streaming media platforms attach great importance to incorporating the local culture of their target market, which partly explains their huge success.

After launching an overseas version in Southeast Asia, Chinese online video streaming platform iQiyi rolled out multiple Malay TV dramas by working with several Malaysia-based internet companies and film and TV production companies.

In the same vein, Tencent Video launched the Thai TV drama “Bad Genius,” co-produced with a Thailand company, on its international version WeTV in August last year.

Co-production of TV programs and series helps promote Chinese online video streaming platforms in Southeast Asia, according to the manager of WeTV’s Thailand branch.

Furthermore, China-based short video sharing app TikTok has over 100 million active users in the U.S., including 32.5 percent of users who are 10-19 years old and 29.5 percent aged 20 to 29 years. Moreover, mainstream American news outlets such as the Washington Post have opened accounts on TikTok. 

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