Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Lecture | LIAS Lunch Talk Series

“Let’s go to the Wanghong Restaurant…”: Following the wanghong as an aspect of global China

Thursday 9 November 2023

1.04 (Verbarium)


In this talk, we examine the local and global dimensions of China’s digital culture through an exploration of wanghong 网红, which means “internet fame” or “viralness in digital space.” This exploration of wanghong focuses on the spatial dimensions of wanghong, highlighting how through the processes of wanghong, urban places and spaces can become internet-famous through digital asymmetrical spectacles that simultaneously impact places online and offline. We begin our examination of wanghong’s spatialization and its globalization in Beijing, examining the consumption of a so-called wanghong restaurant in 2018. We then move our enquiry to Düsseldorf, Germany, to explore how a relatively unremarkable German city became internet-famous on the Chinese social media space, Xiaohongshu, due to its pan-Asian foodscape. Our exploration of Düsseldorf highlights the mobility of wanghong and the role that alterity plays in the production of internet fame. Through our exploration of Düsseldorf, we also note the role of Chinese digital culture in creating and promoting global China.

About the speaker

Carwyn Morris is one of the 'digital Asia' people at LIAS and is focused on Digital China. He did a PhD in Human Geography and Urban Studies and takes a spatial approach to digital relations. He explores digital phenomena, including large-scale issues of digital territory and the political geography of digital relations, from a bottom-up perspective. He co-authored the paper being discussed here with Yan Cong. Yan recently completed a Research Master’s in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Her work has been published internationally in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, and Vice.

This website uses cookies.  More information.