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Let’s talk about web celebs in Chinese

Aug. 3, 2016

Everybody wants to be an Internet star —maybe not everybody—but a lot of people try! (Do you know the famous NBA star?) And with the multitude of accessible media platforms—Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, etc.—many make it. Before, you had to act in a movie or something similar for real fame. But nowadays just a funny video or interesting photo can go viral, and an every day person goes from ordinary to star overnight. The crazy thing is—86% of the people are under 24! That goes to show this world has some fun and clever youth.

Take Lele Pons for example, she’s just 19 but currently is the most looped person on Vines. She has over 7 billion views on her videos, and even got to meet Michelle Obama! That’s doing pretty good for someone just out of high school. Then there’s Amanda Steele, making YouTube videos since 10 and now—at just 15—she has launched her own make-up line. It seems like the girls with fashion blogs, make-up tips and DIY feeds are making names for themselves.

This easy step into stardom is universal, and in Chinese these web celebs are called “网红 (wǎnghóng),” literally meaning “network red,” this is shortened from the term “网络红人 (wǎngluò hóng rén).” The word “网络 (wǎngluò)” means Internet, and “红 (hóng) red” in Chinese is a lucky color and can also be used when discussing something that is popular, much like the word “火(huǒ) hot” in English. The last character “人 (rén)” means “people/person.”

Examples:

Tā xiànzài kě shì wǎngluò hóng rén.
他   现在  可 是    网络        红 人。
He is an Internet celebrity now.

Lele Pons shì fēicháng shòu huānyíng de wǎnghóng.
Lele Pons 是   非常        受      欢迎     的    网红。
Lele Pons is a very popular Internet celebrity.

Recently Baidu, the Chinese search engine equivalent to Google, released the ranking of the top Internet celebrities in China. At the top of the list is “安妮宝贝 (Ānnī bǎobèi) Annie Baby,” a famous Chinese novelist. You could say that she “在网络上走红 (zài wǎngluò shàng zǒuhóng),” which means “became famous (red) on the Internet.”

Example:

Zuìjìn yí gè bā suì de háizi zài wǎngluò shàng zǒuhóng.
最近  一 个 8 岁  的 孩子 在     网络      上       走红。
An eight-year old boy became very popular on the Internet recently.

Quiz:

1. Which one of these words is not associated with the Internet?
A. 上网 (shàngwǎng)
B. 网络 (wǎngluò)
C. 互联网 (hùliánwǎng)
D. 网球 (wǎngqiú)

2. Which of the following people is not a “网红 (wǎnghóng)?”
A. Lele Pons
B. Michelle Obama
C. Amanda Steele
D. Annie Baby

See Answer Analysis

Keep Reading:

Four key phrases for using the Internet in Chinese

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