China’s popular actress and microblogging queen Yao Chen has more than 10 million followers on China’s microblogging site Sina Weibo. She has got more microblog followers than Ashton Kutcher’s Twitter. With China’s huge population and an ever-increasing broadband penetration, Yao will soon outrank Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber as having the most microblogging followers.
Sina.com.cn crowned Yao as the “queen of microblog” when her microblog at t.sina.com.cn/yaochen garnered more than five million followers in January. Her engagement with current world events, addressing social and political issues in Weibo, has won her the huge number of followers.
Yao Chen was born on 5 October 1979 in Shishi City, Quanzhou, Fujian province, China to a middle-class family. She first studied Chinese folk dance at the Beijing Dance Academy from 1993 to 1997, before moving on to study at the Beijing Film Academy from 1999 to 2003.
The charismatic actress shot to fame in 2006 for her acting debut role as the daughter of a powerful martial artist in popular 1995 sitcom “My Own Swordsmen”. Following this, in 2008, she played the part of an iconic guerilla leader in the series Undercover. Her first stage appearance was as a white-collar heroine in A Story of Lala’s Promotion (2009). She has since appeared as Mango in Feng Xiaogang’s If You Are the One 2 (2010), in Chen Yili’s Colour Me Love (2010) and in Shang Jing’s My Own Swordsman (2011). She won the Golden Eagle Award for Best Actress in 2010.
In 2004 Yao Chen married the Chinese actor Ling Xiao Su, but they divorced in January 2011.
In 2011 Yao Chen visited Mae La refugee camp in northern Thailand as UNHCR’s Honorary Patron for China. The number of followers of her microblogging during this visit increased dramatically, won over by her sincere, fearless communication and her honest engagement with current world events. As she left Mae La she said, “I hope to spend part of every year with refugees.”
Yao is the first non-Twitter microblogger among the world’s 10 most followed microbloggers. Sina said, “Her charisma is attributed to the honesty expressed in her postings, which are like text messages sent between old friends.”