Is Boys’ Love Content Still a Promising Brand Opportunity in China?

Despite China’s ban on the production of “Boys’ Love” (BL) dramas, the genre continues to pick up steam — at home and overseas. What’s behind the trend?

With their attractive male leads and subtle gay romance, China’s “Boys’ Love” or BL dramas have become addictive to audiences. Whether it’s The Untamed, known for its sumptuous costumes and smoldering gazes, or Addicted, a high school web series with a more overt portrayal of sexuality, the genre has developed a cult following even under the government’s watchful eye.

And Chinese actor Xiao Zhan has become the movement’s undisputed poster boy. On May 6, he was named a spokesperson for L’Oréal Professionnel, the beauty giant’s high-end salon line, adding to a long list of ambassadorships that includes Tod’s, Gucci, Nars, Bosideng, and Li Ning. The 30-year-old star continues to profit off his role in The Untamed, a mega-popular fantasy show that racked up 200 million views per day and over 70 million yuan in viewing fees on Tencent during its final month of broadcast in 2019.

The show, which follows the adventures of two soulmates as they uncover a dark mystery, catapulted Xiao Zhan to global fame and helped him amass over 30 million followers on Weibo. Xiao Zhan’s co-star, Wang Yibo, similarly became a household name following its release, signing contracts with brands such as Anta, Chanel, and G-Shock and entering Forbes China’s Celebrity 100 and 30 Under 30 list for the first time. Continue to read the full article here