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Vloggers ride wave of interest in rural themes

Updated: 2023-12-30 13:11 ( China Daily )
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A woman sells oranges with her daughter through livestreaming on the banks of Xiling Gorge in Yichang, Hubei province, on March 11, 2021. [PHOTO BY LI XINKUAN/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Livestreamers help spread reach of e-commerce, intangible heritage and cultural diversions. Li Lei reports.

Rural-themed content is making waves across major Chinese short video apps such as Kuaishou, Douyin and Xiaohongshu.

A five-minute clip on Xiaohongshu showing butchered cattle bones being turned into delicate mahjong tiles by a farmer-craftsman using only homemade tools has garnered 83,000 likes and 2,500 comments.

An influencer from a rural part of Sichuan province has acquired tens of thousands of followers on multiple video streaming websites by vlogging her journeys between remote villages while carrying a giant bamboo basket. Her adventures — mostly ending with purchases of farm produce from elderly farmers at roadside vegetable markets — are usually full of heartwarming personal tales.

Popular culture has long favored stories about deeper-pocketed urbanites, while rural life was largely absent from films and television sitcoms until recently.

A 2019-21 survey by Endata, a data analysis company, showed that only about 5 percent of domestic TV sitcoms were based on rural themes during that period. But that was already an improvement following a gradual increase as part of a national campaign to curb rural poverty and revitalize the countryside over the past decade.

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