Products of the internet factory

Updated 2017-03-04 12:21:27 China Daily
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The singing and dancing group YHBOYS consists of five boys, aged from 10 to 13. They now have more than 27,000 followers on Sina Weibo.

The singing and dancing group YHBOYS consists of five boys, aged from 10 to 13. They now have more than 27,000 followers on Sina Weibo.

Young kids dream of fame, and entertainment company executives dream of making a fortune. Thus a boy band is born

Resistance is futile; How can you possibly not fall instantly in love with these five impish boys and, smitten, reach for the "like" button?

That is no doubt the calculation of their manufacturer, Yue Hua Entertainment, which seems to have timed and choreographed everything to do with the singing and dancing group YHBOYS to perfection.

And so it was that five boys, aged from 10 to 13, were unfurled on China in a three- and-a-half minute video called Brand New World a few weeks ago just when the country was awash with saccharine sentimentality - Valentines Day.

In the video, the five, all of whose voluminous mops of hair are adorned with pieces of cute headgear, including the seemingly inevitable back-to-front baseball cap, are garbed in loosefitting hoodies. They prance about in a synchronized dance routine that is interspersed with shots of group members gesticulating with their hands, giving the thumbs up, giving each other the high fives, jumping for joy and generally having a hoot of a time, and all this to the sound of unrelentingly upbeat, feel-good music.

Little surprise then that little more than 24 hours after YHBOYS first saw the light of day their video was reported to have been viewed more than 10 million times. They now have more than 27,000 followers on Sina Weibo, akin to Twitter.

Getting an early start in show business is not exactly new. After all, the late American child star Shirley Temple made her debut at the age of 3, but the sudden appearance and instant success of YHBOYS has raised some eyebrows in China.

First, there is the name, some suggesting that it has an uncanny resemblance to TFBoys, a Chinese teenage boy band put together by the Beijing company Time Fengjun Entertainment, and which gained rapid popularity, essentially through the internet, after putting out a debut promotional video, Ten Years, in August 2013.

However, for every person who raises questions about Yue Hua Entertainment's commercial intent with the youngsters, there seem to be 100 others who cannot get enough of them and eagerly await more videos - and the merchandise that is do doubt on its way.

In bringing the group together, seven boys from provinces including Jiangxi and Hebei, Inner Mongolia autonomous region and Taiwan, were chosen from more than 3,000 candidates who applied in an internet talent search, says Du Hua, founder and chief executive of Yue Hua Entertainment, which has been creating Chinese pop idol groups since 2009. Five of those boys appeared in the video released last month, and the two others will appear in two videos to be put out on the internet this month. Eventually more boys will be put into the group.

The recruitment process and getting the boys ready to be shown to the public took more than two years, and having invested so much time and effort in bringing YHBOYS together, Du has big plans for them. In fact those plans appear to go well beyond China, a Twitter account, @YHBoysGlobal, having been set up for them, even if for the moment it has just a few hundred followers.

Plans are also afoot for a YHGIRLS group whose members will be aged between 16 and 18.

"There is huge potential for developing Chinese pop groups. And more than 200 pop groups are set up every year. China has this huge population but just a dozen or so new groups appearing every year, and most of them fizzle out.

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