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Chinese Entertainment is Finding New Audiences in Africa

Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee kung fu movies have long been popular in Africa. Now, however, Chinese entertainment content is expanding beyond martial arts to include sports and even soap operas.

Chinese television dramas are now starting to find audiences in Africa and the Middle East thanks in part to the growing popularity of the pay-TV service StarTimes that dubs programs into dozens of African languages and tech companies like iQiyi that now Arabic language packages.

Even the nascent Chinese Super League is starting to build a following on the continent. More African soccer players are competing in the Chinese professional league with games broadcast twice a day during the season to millions of homes across the continent on StarTimes.

Freelance tech and digital culture journalist Chu Yang recently co-authored an article with journalist Soila Kenya published on the Chinese news and lifestyle website Sixth Tone that explores how Chinese digital trends are finding their way to Africa and other emerging markets. Chu joins Eric & Cobus from Denmark to discuss her latest report about whether Chinese so-called “C-Dramas” are gaining popularity in Africa.

Show Notes:

About Chu Yang and Soila Kenya:

Chu Yang is a freelance journalist based in Europe. She was a reporter with Caixin. Her stories have appeared on and GQ China, Tencent News, and Sixth Tone, among others. She has extensively covered technology and social innovations in China. She is also the founder of two civic journalism projects reporting on marginalized groups and archiving censored news, respectively. Her main interests lie in media, digital culture, migration, and identity. She holds a bachelor’s in journalism.

Soila Kenya is an award-winning data journalist, fact-checker, and trainer from Nairobi, Kenya interested in environment, gender, and health/science reporting. She has written for Quartz Africa and Poynter among other publications. She is currently pursuing a joint Master’s Degree in Journalism, Media and Globalisation at Aarhus University, the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Denmark, and Charles University in the Czech Republic under the Erasmus Mundus scholarship program.

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