Headlines from China: An Increasing Number of Japanese Stars Joined Chinese Social Media in 2018

An Increasing Number of Japanese Stars Joined Weibo in 2018

2018 saw a surprising number of top Japanese celebrities joined Chinese social media Weibo. Back in January 2018, Katayose Ryota, member of the Japanese boy band “Generation,” opened a Weibo account, which became one of the most trending topics on Weibo at that time. The band then did three concerts in China and Katayose Ryota’s Weibo played an important role in promoting these concerts. What pleased Chinese fans the most was that Tomohisa Yamashita and Takuya Kimura, two of the most beloved Japanese idols, joined Weibo in March. After one month, they’ve gained more than half a million followers on Weibo. As more and more Japanese movies and TV dramas are being brought to China, joining Chinese social media to engage with fans is becoming a trend among Japanese stars. Read more on yingshidushe

‘Alita: Battle Angel’ Set for February 22 China Release

It’s announced today that sci-fi action movie Alita: Battle Angel has been scheduled to release in China on February 22, one week after its North American release. Based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga Gunnm, the film tells an action-packed story of one young woman’s journey to discover the truth of who she is and how her fight could change the world. James Cameron had long considered adapting the manga into a film, but the project was repeatedly delayed due to his work on Avatar and its sequels. The directorial work was then handed to Robert Rodriguez, who is the director of Sin City and also a fan of the original manga. Cameron has also been involved in developing this project as a producer and screenwriter. The film’s cast members include Rosa Salazar who plays the lead character Alita, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, and Michelle Rodriguez. Read more on Mtime

Will Alibaba Pictures’ “Hongyan Project” Solve Film Industry’s Pain Points?

On January 8, Alibaba Pictures’ entertainment investment platform Yule Bao (娱乐宝) announced a new initiative called “Hongyan Project (鸿雁计划).” Through this project, Alibaba Pictures plans to raise RMB 3 billion to support about 100 film projects in next three years and eventually give a total of RMB 10 billion back to investors. According to Alibaba Pictures’ official statement, this project intends to help the film industry with cash flow issues. While the intention is good, not everyone is optimistic about its results due to Yule Bao’s unimpressive track record. Yule Bao was launched back in 2014 and has only invested in a relatively small number of projects each year. It also hasn’t demonstrated strong capabilities of solving cash flow issues. As a financial product, it’s rather poorly designed. However, it could potentially become a cost-effective marketing tool. It remains to be seen if this new “Hongyan Project” will make any difference. Read more on www.yuanxian1.com