Vlogs, Once Ignored in China, Are Suddenly in Vogue

Credit: Shi Yangkun/Sixth Tone

Tech companies hungry for the newest hype turn to a tested format.

The content of Jing Yue’s vlogs isn’t what you’d usually call exciting. One episode opens with him introducing the various items on his desk: a cup of instant coffee, lunch leftovers, Lego bricks, and a dead plant. Nevertheless, the mundane goings-on of his daily life have given Jing an audience of millions, making him one of the country’s most popular vloggers.

That’s in part because he never had much competition. Though vlogs — short for video blogs — have been a staple on YouTube for years and China’s internet is rife with livestreaming and short video platforms, vlogs never really caught on in the country. While “vlog” entered the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2009, it’s still a novel concept in China. Back in January 2018, when Jing uploaded his 19th vlog, one viewer seemed confused, asking: “Can anyone tell me what a ‘vlog’ is?”

But their popularity is surging. That same episode has now been watched over 8 million times.

In the second half of last year, vlogging — the unscripted documentation of life — started to gain momentum in China. This was in no small part due to the sudden enthusiasm of tech corporations, content creators, celebrities, and gadget manufacturers, apparently out to find the next big social media format.

Vlogging 101: Sixth Tone talked to three Chinese vloggers on filming techniques, work-life-vlog balance, and more. By Zhu Yuqing/Sixth Tone

According to Baidu Index, which tracks terms used on the Chinese search engine, interest in the word “vlog” shot up after September 2018, producing several spikes of increasing height. This coincided with a series of vlogging drives by the likes of Sina — which operates Weibo, the country’s closest comparison to Twitter. Since Weibo initiated its campaign, the site has verified thousands of users as vloggers, because they uploaded at least four such videos in 30 days. Continue to read the full article here.


– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.