Tensions between China and South Korea, regular censorship of foreign content and Chinese video broadcasting platforms partly explain the rise of the creation of Chinese dramas.

The Chinese prefer family over friends. Generally, Chinese people go home directly after work or school to spend time with their family. Therefore, the series/movies have an overriding place in China. Indeed, it is an opportunity for them to spend time and relax together. Thus, the market of Chinese dramas is booming, following an increasingly strict censorship of the government.


Korean culture still has a significant influence on China. Since 2016, China banned the import of Korean products on its sacred ground, because of Thaad. Actually, it is an anti-missile system implemented by the Americans in South Korea to face its northern neighbor. Thus, K dramas see their export to China crash. China was called Korea’s golden egg chicken and the most promising partner orn affiliate.

For example, the drama “My Love from the Stars” seduced the Chinese market during its broadcast in 2014. The serie of 2.5 billion online views in China deals with a love story between an alien and a famous actress fond of Chimaek (fried chicken and beer). As soon as it was released, the clothes, accessories and lipsticks worn by the heroine were sold out. Even the fried chicken restaurants in China have experienced strong¬†growth.

Chinese Drama: A very strong Korean inspiration

Thus, facing the ban of K culture in China on legal platforms, China produces more and more its own content. Strongly inspired by the Korean series, she knew how to change her approach to be in the current trend. Indeed, a few years ago there were mainly historical, dramatic and action series. Today, we observe a wide range of choices : a growth of romantic, comic and fantastic dramas.

The Chinese series “My boss and Me” was a tremendous success. It talks about the love story between a rich heir and an employee of his company, coming from from the campaign. This synopsis is almost identical to the hit Korean series “The Heirs”.

China is taking advantage of tensions with South Korea to focus on its own culture and create new content at a daily pace.

Letv, iQiyi, Youku Tudou and Tencent Videos: China’s online video market leaders

In China, we can observe a television experience of another kind: video publishing sites. They also serve as a social network since users can enjoy, comment, share and rate videos. Despite Netflix’s recent signature with iQiyi, which will now broadcast Netflix’s original content, the US service does not really exist in China.

That’s why the Chinese have created their own website to watch entertainment like on TV. These free sites with social networking features and original productions are funded by advertising. Letv, iQiyi, Youku Tudou (bought by Alibaba in 2016) showcase today’s online TVs dynamism. People are immersed with an interactive community and connected through the screen of their smartphone. Indeed, people consume the content. They are not just spectators behind a screen.

Online video market situation in 2017

Nowadays, iQiyi has more than 500 million monthly netizens. China’s online broadcasting service raised $ 1.5 billion to align its subscription service with Netflix.

In 2016, Go Princess Go Chinese serie gathered 1.5 billion views in just one month. This historico-fantastic transgender series played by unknown actors has seduced young Chinese people thanks to humor, flashy costumes and decoration. Moreover, this comedy has costed 5 times cheaper than other fiction to produce.

Obviously there are limits and threats to the growth of Chinese series. First of all, there is piracy. This is the case for the Korean series “Goblin”. It has been a huge success in China via illegal downloading. Also, Chinese streaming sites have lost a lot of their audience by removing the K dramas. They accounted for a large part of the Chinese traffic. At the end, China is only interested in creating scenarios for its own public so far, which could be a threat to their growth in the future.