All Abstracts > WeChat as a digital bridge for the Chinese residents in Italy? A study of the use of social media during the first wave of COVID-19
WeChat as a digital bridge for the Chinese residents in Italy? A study of the use of social media during the first wave of COVID-19
Authors | Affiliation:
Gianluigi Negro | Siena University and China Media Observatory; Lala Hu | Catholic University of Milan
3C | WeChat and Chinese diaspora
This article provides a historical analysis on the development the Chinese-language media system in Italy with a dedicated focus on the use of WeChat.
The study is structured in three sections. The first part presents an overview based on institutional sources focused on the Chinese minority in Italy, from its origins to nowadays. The second section frames the Chinese-language media system in Italy. The third part provides a case study on the use of WeChat. Specifically, we carried out a content analysis based on major Italian newspapers (with a readership with at least 70,000 daily copies) focusing on the use of WeChat by the Chinese residents in Italy during the first lockdown (March-May 2020) implemented during the COVID-19 health crisis.
Our study aims to answer to two research questions, namely:
- To what extent does WeChat allow the Italian institutions to reach the Chinese residents, and for the Chinese residents to communicate with the Italian institutions?
- How was WeChat used as a platform for Chinese residents in Italy to access crucial, important information about their health in times of public health crises?
Our findings suggest four categories useful to frame how WeChat acted as a platform for overseas Chinese to maintain the relationships with their families and friends in Mainland China but also with their networks in Italy.
About the authors
Gianluigi Negro is Assistant Professor in Chinese Studies at Siena University and China Media Observatory (University of Lugano, Switzerland) research fellow. His research focuses on Chinese media history and Chinese Internet governance.
Lala Hu is Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Catholic University of Milan. Her research interests lie in the fields of international marketing, cross-cultural marketing, and digital marketing with focus on the Chinese market.