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Vlogger serves up image of modern China

Updated: 2024-04-08 07:57 ( XINHUA )
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Dong Meihua, 34, a food vlogger from Baoshan, Yunnan province, prepares for shooting. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Hailing from a remote mountainous village in Shidian county in the city of Baoshan, Southwest China's Yunnan province, Dong Meihua juggles two roles — entrepreneur and food vlogger.

However, it's her passion for the latter that garners the most attention, as her videos not only tantalize taste buds, but also evoke a sense of nostalgia.

Known as Dianxixiaoge — or Yunnan foodie — on social media since 2016, the 34-year-old now has around 40 million online followers in China and abroad, with her videos receiving up to 50 million views each.

In the bamboo forests of western Yunnan, she demonstrated the joy of cutting bamboo and making it into different products; in sugarcane fields, she filmed the traditional process of making brown sugar; and wading through deep water, she immersed herself in the joy of harvesting fresh lobsters.

"I film whatever reflects Yunnan's uniqueness," Dong says, while also mentioning her first video documenting the process of harvesting and frying bamboo worms. She often favors short videos that are visually captivating, allowing her to swiftly secure the attention of her viewers.

"When I was young, I was determined to leave my hometown and pursue opportunities in the city," she says.

"However, upon returning after my adventures elsewhere, I discovered a newfound passion for exploring and presenting the beauty of my home province, as Yunnan has a unique cuisine and a wealth of specialties."

Dong's dedication to her rural explorations has driven her to film daily and publish weekly for seven years, resulting in over 600 short videos to date.

"Food isn't just for filling our stomachs. It's also integral to our memories," she says, adding that her audience loves to see the ordinary happiness of her family as they share three meals a day.

In late 2018, Dong's videos began to be posted on overseas video platforms and social media, and many Chinese students abroad volunteered to translate the video subtitles into multiple languages. Currently, she has over 10 million overseas followers.

In late 2019, she was invited to speak at the University of Oxford, where she shared her journey as an ambassador for Yunnan cuisine and culture.

Dong is also devoted to leading more villagers in Yunnan toward shared prosperity. She has collaborated with food factories and promoted over 120 local agricultural products on her social media accounts.

She has also used livestreaming to endorse local delicacies, such as rice noodles, small coffee beans, cured meat, red tea, persimmons and green broad beans.

Dong says that combined daily sales on her platforms reach as much as 200,000 yuan ($28,200), which in turn supports over 1,000 jobs.

A more diverse and enriched image of contemporary China is presented through numerous engaging online content offerings made by social media influencers such as Dong Meihua, says Wang Ning, secretary of the Yunnan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, in an address to the opening ceremony of the China Internet Media Forum that kicked off Saturday.

"Life in Yunnan is a lifestyle worth seeing," Dong says. "I will continue to use my camera to capture everything here, truly allowing the world to see my beloved home province, and I also welcome more friends from home and abroad to visit Yunnan and Baoshan."

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