China’s Microblogging Celebs Blow Past Western Stars

Look out Lady Gaga, here come Zhao Wei and Little S.

BEIJING – A handful of Chinese celebrity micro bloggers now have more online followers than some of the most-followed stars in the West, data from social networking sites Twitter and its Chinese clone, Weibo, shows.

Chinese actress and pop singer Vicky Zhao Wei, the star of the 2009 box office hit Mulan, added more than 116,000 followers in the week ended Tuesday to swell her Weibo fan base to 5.81 million people and help her blow past American singer Taylor Swift, whose Twitter followers now number 5.72 million.
The 5.5 million Weibo users following Kevin Tsai -- the openly gay host of Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards, the equivalent of the Oscars for Chinese-language films -- edged past the 5.4 million Twitterers now following American talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
At the end of 2010, the overall number of Chinese people going online was 450 million, a group almost 50 percent larger than the entire population of the United States, now 307 million strong.
In January, China's No. 1 most popular Weibo user, actress Yao Chen, had 4.9 million followers. As of this week, Yao, who starred in the 2010 hit If You Are the One 2, broke the 7 million fan mark catching her up quickly to the number of Twitterers following U.S. President Barack Obama  (7.13 million) and pop sensation Britney Spears (7.21 million).
As of September 2010, Twitter had 175 million registered users. Nasdaq-listed Sina reports that Weibo had more than 80 million registered users in January 2011.
Still out of the reach of even actress Yao atop the list of Twitterati are teen idols Lady Gaga, with 8.98 million Twitter followers, and Justin Bieber, with 8.35 million.
Right behind Yao on Weibo is Taiwan actress and singer Dee Hsu. Under her nickname Xiao S, or Little S, Hsu ranks No. 2 on the Weibo most-popular list with 6.18 million followers. Hsu is a co-host with Kevin Tsai of the popular Chung T’ien Television comedy talk show Here’s Kangxi.