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Taiwanese pop star’s messy divorce captures Chinese internet

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Taiwanese pop star's messy divorce captures Chinese internet


The online war of words between Taiwanese-American pop idol Wang Leehom and his now ex-wife Lee Jinglei has exploded in recent days – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP Drew Angerer

Laurie CHEN

A Taiwanese pop star’s messy divorce has captivated the Chinese-speaking world with the allegations triggering debate on misogyny and abusive marriages in China, where social media discussion of women’s rights is increasingly tightly controlled.

The online war of words between Taiwanese-American pop idol Wang Leehom and his estranged wife Lee Jinglei has exploded in recent days, generating breathless tabloid coverage and daily social media fodder across China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

It has also triggered none of the Chinese mainland’s censorship that kicked in when tennis star Peng Shuai alleged she had been sexually assaulted by a senior Communist Party official last month.

Lee’s anguished posts about her imploding marriage to Wang — one of Mandopop’s most recognisable crooners — have struck a chord with many women who empathised with her detailed accounts of alleged mistreatment.

The spat exploded last Friday, days after Wang announced his divorce to 68 million followers on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.

Lee then posted a 5,000-word letter alleging Wang’s emotional abuse and serial infidelity during the course of their eight-year marriage, demolishing his previously squeaky-clean image.

She also accused Wang of seeing sex workers and repeatedly cheating on her while she raised their three children at the expense of her career.

A former JP Morgan analyst, Lee studied at Princeton and Columbia University in New York Taiwanese media reported, before marrying Wang aged 27.

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“One of the reasons I decided to speak out was because I don’t want any more women to experience the same things I did,” Lee wrote in a Weibo post that gained over 12 million likes.

Wang denied allegations of cheating and accused Lee of coercing him into marriage in a separate Weibo statement as his father also waded into the spat, sparking threats of legal action.

– Misogyny debate –

The saga took yet another turn early Monday morning when Lee accused Wang of gaslighting her, with the search term “gaslighting” trending in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Wang finally apologised in a Monday Weibo post in which he said he took “all responsibility” and announced a temporary break from the music industry.

Chinese-speaking users have largely thrown their support behind Lee — giving her the nickname “Thor”, a phonetic pun on her name that invokes the beloved Marvel superhero and fearsome Norse god of thunder.

Multiple brands also dropped Wang, who is believed to have left China.

And the allegations triggered debate on misogyny and abusive marriages in China, where social media discussion of women’s rights is increasingly tightly controlled.

“If more women dare to expose their wounds through speaking out instead of tolerating them, there would be less misogyny in society,” a feminist blogger wrote in a viral WeChat essay titled: “Thank you Lee Jinglei for making society a bit less misogynistic”.

Chinese feminists also hailed Lee’s bravery on social media.

“Women’s speech and their right to public opinion are of vital importance. (Lee Jinglei) finally took a courageous first step,” said a feminist campaigner in Beijing who wished to remain anonymous.

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The currently unfettered online discussion contrasts sharply with the blanket censorship of allegations by tennis star Peng.

Hers is the highest-profile allegation from China’s fledgling #MeToo movement, which has been heavily suppressed by domestic authorities but received significant international attention.

After weeks of no word, Peng resurfaced in a series of highly stage-managed public appearances, denying ever making a sexual assault claim.

But the Women’s Tennis Association said it still had “significant concerns” about her “well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion”.

– Celebs behaving badly –

Wang’s divorce comes as Chinese authorities carry out a wide-ranging morality crackdown on the entertainment industry. And the public spat has not escaped the notice of the Communist Party’s disciplinary watchdog.

“The example of ‘celebrity trainwrecks’ repeatedly demonstrates that people pay attention to public figures’ every word and deed, and each create an impact on society,” the Central Committee for Discipline Inspection said Sunday.

Over the summer several Chinese celebrities have been publicly disgraced and blacklisted from the industry over “immoral” conduct.

Chinese-Canadian singer Kris Wu was charged with rape by Beijing police in August, while actress Zheng Shuang was hit with a $46 million fine for tax evasion the same month.

More recently, Chinese pianist Li Yundi was detained by Beijing police for allegedly soliciting a sex worker.

Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasised at an arts symposium earlier this month that performers should strive for “moral integrity”, while several government arts and internet regulatory bodies have issued orders to “resist illegal and unethical artists”.



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LinkedIn Announces the Retirement of its LinkedIn Lite App

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LinkedIn Announces the Retirement of its LinkedIn Lite App


LinkedIn has announced that it’s shutting down LinkedIn Lite, its pared-back version of the platform, designed for users in regions with more restricted connectivity and data access provisions.

Originally launched back in 2017 as a way to help “level the playing field for all members when it comes to accessibility”, LinkedIn Lite includes the basic functionality of LinkedIn, and is designed to load faster, while also using less data, handy for regions with more restrictive data plans.

But as LinkedIn continues to evolve, the Lite app gets further behind, with the full app’s more advanced functionalities – like video connection, full profile display features, Creator Mode, etc. – all getting more and more distant from the streamlined tool.

And with global connectivity evolving, LinkedIn now feels confident that it can move on without the scaled-back variation, which could also help boost in-app engagement and usage, and make LinkedIn a more significant presence in key markets.

Which, as you can see here, are growing. Now at 810 million total members, LinkedIn continues to gain momentum in developing regions, especially India (85m members, up from 60m in 2019), South Africa (+2m since 2019), the Philippines (+3m) and Nigeria (+1m)

LinkedIn Member Map

As with most social apps, India is a key focus, and LinkedIn says that Indian adoption of the full version of the app is now rising at 4x the global average, as mobile adoption continues to soar in the nation.

At the same time, retirement of the Lite app could also give LinkedIn’s team more opportunity to develop and maintain its new ‘InJobs’ app in China, with the full version of LinkedIn removed from China last October due to increasing regulatory pressure and scrutiny.

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At 56 million users, maintaining connection with China is key, and maybe that’s another factor in LinkedIn’s decision to step away from its scaled-down version.

Either way, the LinkedIn Lite app will be removed from Android app stores on 27th January 27th, before being deactivated completely March 15th.

LinkedIn says that it will transition Lite app users over to the full LinkedIn experience over the next few weeks.



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Twitter Shares New Insights into Rising Discussion Around the NFL Playoffs [Infographic]

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Twitter Shares New Insights into Rising Discussion Around the NFL Playoffs [Infographic]


Super Bowl LVI is just around the corner, which also means that we’ll soon see the biggest showcase of ad content of the year, highlighting new trends, creative activations and opportunities, which can sometimes re-shape advertising approaches from that moment forward.

And this year looks set to be particularly significant. As more people look towards a post-pandemic future, there’s a big opportunities for clever marketers to tap into this enthusiasm, and the various trends that come with it. That’ll likely see more innovative, integrated ad approaches, which will extend beyond the initial big game activations, and showcase new opportunities.

Twitter’s keen to cash in on that excitement. This week, Twitter’s published a new overview of user trends around the NFL playoffs, highlighting the huge boost in tweet activity heading into Super Bowl weekend.

As Twitter notes:

In the 2022 Divisional Round alone, we saw 27% more impressions on Tweets about the NFL, 58% more Tweets overall, and 42% more unique authors, compared with one year ago.”

It could be a key platform for boosting your tie-in efforts – and if you are considering the potential of Twitter ads for your campaigns, then these new stats might help.





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Twitter Shares New Insights into the Rising K-Pop Discussion in the App [Infographic]

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Twitter Shares New Insights into the Rising K-Pop Discussion in the App [Infographic]


Do you like K-pop?

Increasingly, the chances are that you do, given the massive growth of K-pop fandom around the world, with megabands like BTS and Blackpink building huge audiences, and each becoming cultural forces within themselves.

That fandom is most significantly present on Twitter, which has become a key hub for K-pop enthusiasts. K-pop tweeters are now so prominent that they even have the power to quash controversial hashtag movements, by banding together to flood the streams with K-pop-related tweets instead. 

It’s amazing to see, and today, Twitter has shared some new insights into the rising K-pop conversation, which got even bigger, once again, in 2021.

As explained by Twitter:

With a massive 7.8 billion global Tweets in 2021, #KpopTwitter once again showed its power by breaking its previous record of 6.7 billion Tweets in 2020. Registering a notable 16% increase in Tweet volume globally, #KpopTwitter conversations became more diverse and vibrant in 2021.”

So where, exactly, is K-pop discussion trending, and who are the big bands of note? Check out the below insights from Twitter – which also includes a list of rising K-pop stars if you want to get ahead of the curve.





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