Chinese fans celebrate stars’ birthdays in U.S.

K-Pop boy band EXO’s member Ray appeared on the screen in Time Square, New York, last October. / Courtesy of Twitter

By Eom Da-sol

Celebrating celebrities’ birthdays with public advertisements, known as “support culture,” is becoming part of Chinese fandom.

Fans choose their favorite stars’ photos and raise the advertising expenses without the stars’ help or participation. The advertisements are displayed in the most prominent places, such as subway stations, on buses or on video screens on planes.

Chinese fans are even displaying the advertisements in other countries.

Chinese actor Huang Jingyu’s picture appeared on NASDAQ building’s screen in New York’s Time Square on Nov. 18 last year.

Previously, advertisements for Chinese musician Jackson Yi and K-pop boy band EXO member Ray appeared there around the time of their birthdays.

Even in Korea, some major advertisements were the work of Chinese fans.

On May 2 last year, the fans bought an advertisement in Korean daily newspaper Sports Donga celebrating EXO members Baekhyun and Suho’s birthdays.

Chinese fans are using a growing number of Korean advertising agencies, leading to a boost in Chinese companies using Korean agencies on behalf of Chinese customers.

The support culture is largely believed to have originated in Korea, headquarters of K-pop and home of Korean stars whose reputation has gone global.

An official at Korean ad agency Wenice said, “It is not clear whose fan-made advertisement was first between Korea and China, but celebrities’ photos and congratulatory remarks started to appear mainly on ad boards in Korean subway stations in 2015,” according to Korean web magazine IZE.

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