Video of Thai taxi drivers watching 'The Knockout' goes viral, showing Chinese TV dramas' overseas popularity

2023-02-08 09:08:15Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

A video of Thai tricycle taxi drivers watching Chinese TV series The Knockout has gone viral on social media, prompting discussion about the huge popularity of Chinese films and television series overseas.

Recently a Chinese tourist in Thailand posted a video of him watching 39-episode anti-corruption drama The Knockout on the small screen of a Thai tricycle taxi.

“IT was not only this time, but I've spotted several times that many taxi drivers play this drama inside their own taxi to attract Chinese customers,” chuckled the tourist in her video.

The video soon drew a huge amount of discussion on Chinese Sina Weibo topping the trending.

After the three-year COVID-19 pandemic, people's enthusiasm for overseas travel has been fully restored.

Based on a recent report summarized by China’s online ticket booking platform Ctrip, Outbound travel bookings during the Spring Festival has increased by 640 percent compared to the same period in 2022. Southeast Asian countries became the top destinations.

The report noted that Thailand is mostly favored by Chinese tourists, ranking one of the top destinations for Chinese tourists traveling abroad. In 2019, more than 10 million Chinese tourists have traveled to Thailand. In 2023 so far, nearly half of Chinese outbound tourists went to Thailand.

“Playing Chinese drama is clearly a good way for the tourism industry people to share the same topic with their visitors,” Guangzhou-based business insider/TV series translator Zhu Jiayi told the Global Times on Tuesday.

“But more importantly, it also indicated a booming popularity of Chinese films and dramas overseas, especially in Southeast Asian countries including Thailand and Malaysia,” Zhu said.

This was not the first time a tourist watched Chinese drama in a Thai driver’s taxi.

Another tourist Liu Deng who traveled to Thailand in 2019 told the Global Times that he once watched The Untamed played on the small screen inside a taxi.

The Untamed was a hit Chinese traditional costume drama based on the Chinese novel Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu.

Its epic fantasy theme with a romance at its core attracted high score on Asian drama and film fan channel MyDramaList.

In addition to The Untamed, many other Chinese dramas including Joy of Life and Douluo Continent have attracted countless fans with an average score of 8.7/10.

Zhu told the Global Times that it is not a new thing that Chinese film and television dramas have been popular abroad, especially in Southeast Asian countries.

“As early as several years ago, we received a large number of orders for translation of TV dramas, mainly for Southeast Asian countries, as well as Europe, America, South America and other countries.”

Yet in two years, Zhu noted a transition in the industry as the mainstream TV dramas are becoming a hit among overseas audiences.

For example, TV series related to modern social topics such as Minning Town, a show reflects China’s poverty alleviation, and With You discussing the stories of fighting against COIVD-19 pandemic in 2019, has won tens of millions of views on YouTube, according the statistics from Guangming Daily in 2022.


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