What Happened: Following its finale, the Tencent-produced reality show, Chuang or Produce Camp 2021 (创造营 2021), has created what may well be China’s latest boy band sensation, INTO1. The show saw 90 would-be boy band idols battle it out on an artificially created island off Hainan to win over audiences in song and dance challenges and land a spot in the final “group of 11”. The hashtag #Producecamp2021 currently has over 2.9 billion views and 5.71 million comments. The show, now in its fourth series, was streamed on Tencent Video where it achieved record breaking figures (4.77 billion viewers tuned in) and WeTV.
The Jing Take: China’s obsession with Reality TV shows is big business. Chuang is simply the latest in a long line of contests alluring fans and contestants alike in a booming sector. The rewards for those taking part are obvious: expensive social followings and lucrative contracts from brands looking to sign them up. For example, singer Cai Xukun made his name in the 2018 series of Idol Producer 偶像练习生, and later went on to represent Prada and Fila. Perfect Diary has now snapped up winner Liu Yu — who will be the band’s leader — as its latest ambassador. In addition, these fans are known to shower the contestants with lavish gifts and donations: during the show’s final, they pledged over $6.16 million to their favorites.
Interestingly, this season, the show featured international talent alongside Chinese entries and the final line-up features seven non-Chinese members from Japan, Thailand, and the US. This already raised some political tensions during filming; back in March, some Japanese and Korean contestants were called out as their agencies had listed Taiwan and China separately on company websites. However, despite the backlash, this illustrates China’s growing soft power and its push to up cultural consumption abroad. We’ve already had C-beauty, now it’s C-pop’s turn to shine.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.