|Maggie Q (file photo)|
Maggie Q, the Hollywood hotty who played the title character in American CW Television Networks' TV series Nikita, likes to spend time at her home in LA when she is not filming. It's located in the hills of southern California far away from everything. With her dogs to keep her company in her quiet home, she enjoys peace and serenity when she's not working.
How do I know this? Not from gossip magazines, and not from television, but from her personal Chinese-English bilingual micro-blog on Sina Weibo.
Although they might not sometimes be aware of it, international celebrities never lack fans in China. However, fans in China are not as lucky as fans in other parts of the world as language barriers stand between them and their idols. Even if they overcome the language barriers, the difficulty of accessing Twitter or Facebook still makes them unable to see the personal posts from celebrities or interact with them.
However, that situation saw a change since 2012. International stars started to open Sina and Tencent Weibo accounts and later WeChat accounts even though they may not understand Chinese or be able to type in Chinese. Thanks to a platform created by the media company FansTang, overseas celebrities can now interact with their Chinese fans.
Building a bridge
FansTang is a division of China Branding Croup (CBG), which has offices in Beverly Hills, Beijing and Shanghai and additional staff in Guangzhou and Chengdu. With authorization from a celebrity, the company will open and operate a Chinese account on their behalf. They have a translating team of over a dozen people to translate celebrities' posts on Twitter and Facebook, and post the bilingual messages on their Chinese accounts. Among all the comments left by fans, the company chooses those worth translating and forwarding to the celebrity.
They also created a platform that enables registered foreign celebrities to access overseas. Through that platform, celebrities can view all their bilingual posts and the replies from all their fans.
In response to questions from the Global Times, an e-mail from FansTang said that well over 100 entertainers and athletes joined within 18 months, and many have great interactions with Chinese fans.
Maggie Q announced the opening of her account in her first post on Weibo on August 3: "Hello Chinese fans!... I have missed you!" It was reposted 1,287 times and received 2,170 comments as of August 12.
Most comments are fans expressing their love to their "goddess." Among all the comments, some expressed their excitement about international celebrities coming to Chinese social networks. A Weibo user named Mikita-Lynn said, "Did you know that just yesterday, I finally opened a twitter, just want to interact with you! Now you are here, I'm so happy! Welcome Maggie!"