Happy Year of the Rabbit!
The advertisement below were broadcast during the Spring Festival Gala, one of THE most expensive air time on Chinese TV. The familiar story of the ad moved thousands of oversea Chinese students to tears.
Why I found this video particularly interesting:
The development of China's Internet business
The ad is for Tencent QQ, the most used instant messaging software in China with 636.6 million active accounts. And the occasion is Spring Festival Gala, a traditional family event when virtually every household in China sit down for a Thanksgiving-like dinner while watching this show. The idea that a software/website company will buy over 2 minutes airtime during the Gala would be unthinkable five years ago, but now with China's Internet population stands at 457 million, the ad has become one of the most talked about part of the Gala.
The American Dream
The video spread like a wild fire among the oversea Chinese communities because it tells the typical story of a young Chinese with a "dream" (as mentioned in the ad): prep hard for the exam; wave goodbye to family in the airport (Beijing Airport in this case); pursue study at a top American University (this video shows, as many would recognize, Columbia University); get a job in a big American city (looks like a consulting job in New York). Last year alone, 128,000 Chinese students came to the U.S., pursuing more or less the same dream. They make up of the largest percentage (nearly 18%)of the international student body in the U.S..
Is U.S. still going to be the place where young people around the world dream to learn, to make their career and realize their potential? Is it going to keep the openness?
Around me among the Chinese community at Harvard, I've already begun to hear people saying they'll probably go back to China after graduation because of the difficulty in getting a job and the required work visa in the U.S. and also because the potential for growth they are seeing back at home. How is U.S. going to maintain its attractiveness to world talent? Ten years from now, will we see a different version of this ad?
In the meantime, as Will Moss pointed out and I can't agree more, the people who did this video should handle China's "soft power" campaign.
Translation and subtitles: Ella Chou