“Red net” celebrities, or wanghongs, are China’s millennial superstars who find fortune and fame by livestreaming video content ranging from egg drinking to monotonous daily routines. The most famous earn up to Rmb40 million ($5.8 million) a year.
Who is he?
Wang Cuncun, his real name still unknown, is a “red net” star famous for being extremely boring – by his own account. A postgraduate dropout of a business school in France, he returned to his hometown Chongqing and set up his Sina Weibo account in early 2015, titled “my name is Wang Cuncun”. Whilst working for an advertising company in Beijing and living off a low monthly salary, he started to blog in the evenings. He now has close to 3.5 million followers.
Why is he in the news?
His first viral video was released in July 2016 and featured Wang attempting to finish a large gobstopper lollipop. The four-minute video, sped up over the exercise’s four-hour duration, ends with the host lisping “I am Wang Cuncun, I hope you are happy”. The video is captioned “this video is very boring, [I am] not smiling, I just sent it out to prove that I tried…”
Among his other ‘boring’ feats included a six-hour count of 16,250 individual grains of rice in a bowl and a 3-hour quest to count the average number of strawberry seeds on a strawberry – the answer, according to Wang, is 289.2. Whilst netizens originally pitied and ridiculed him, many now see beauty in his efforts to “make boredom into a fun art”. Many were particularly enthralled after he turned his bathtub into a mini swimming pool, captioning the photo of him snorkeling in it as “Maldives”.
Wang recently said “for four years, I have decided to become a boring person. In the process, boring has changed a lot of my views on the world. I sometimes feel that any kind of thing or way can be our driving force for the future. Maybe everyone will find the way that suits you, but I just chose to be bored.”
The tamest of the “red net” stars?
Whilst Wang has shot to internet stardom by being extremely boring, other “red net” stars seem to be testing the limits with the lengths they are going to in a bid to entertain. A vlogger named “Seaside Girl Little Seven” recently shared a video on the Chinese platform Kuaishou (the video even spread to Facebook) of her attempt to eat a live octopus. She failed: the octopus latched onto her face and left her with an inflamed cheek. She finally huffs “I’ll eat it in the next video”.
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