Wanghong as liminal creative labour in China

All Abstracts > Wanghong as liminal creative labour in China

Wanghong as liminal creative labour in China

Author | Affiliation: Elaine Zhao | University of New South Wales

Presenting at:
3A | Wanghong, Social Media Entertainment and the Social Industries


As the internet opens up pathways to fame, wanghong(literally internet famous) has become a cultural and socioeconomic phenomenon in China with its own diversity and contestations. It constitutes a rapidly growing part of China’s social media entertainment where multiple platforms, modality and business models co-exist as the state develops and disciplines the digital creative economy. With reference to online video production, this chapter discusses how creators seeking fame and fortune online experience multiple layers of liminality: 1) between the professional and amateur; 2) between authenticity and performance; 3) between public and private; and 4) between being harnessed and being disciplined. The discussion reveals creators’ diverse experiences as they navigate these liminalities which carry both opportunities and challenges; and explains how their experiences involve both agency and precarity as internet fame is gained, lost, relocated or transformed in China.

About the author

Elaine Zhao

Email: –

Elaine Jing Zhao is senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales Sydney. Her research interest lies in creative labour, platform governance, informal media economy and media globalisation. She is the author of Digital China’s Informal Circuits: Platforms, Labour and Governance and China’s Digital Presence in the Asia-Pacific: Culture, Technology and Platforms (co-authored with Michael Keane, Haiqing Yu and Susan Leong). 

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