Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / China / Crossing the Strait

Social apps give Taiwan youth rich taste of mainland

By ZHANG YI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-07-29 07:47
Share - WeChat

The Chinese mainland's social media platforms have become increasingly popular among the younger generation in Taiwan, offering them a glimpse into lifestyles on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.

Wu Yu-ting, 20, a student at the island province's National Chengchi University, said she learned a lot about the mainland's trending culture and food on social media platforms like Xiaohongshu or Little Red Book, a popular lifestyle-sharing platform on the mainland, and short video platform TikTok.

Wu said such social media apps allow her to customize her content choices. Whenever she comes across interesting clips from mainland TV dramas, she makes an effort to watch the full versions later.

Many of her classmates in Taiwan, who have never been to the mainland, also use such apps for entertainment, and often share or forward the content they enjoy, she said.

Last month, Wu visited Beijing to participate in a summer camp, which allowed her to experience the mainland scenery and savor the local snacks she had seen on social media.

"Visiting famous tourist sites here (in Beijing) meant that I could experience those places in real life that I had earlier seen only on TV shows," she said, adding that she took pictures at various sites and shared them with her friends in Taiwan.

Kuo Hsueh-yun, also from Taiwan, who works in the media industry on the mainland, said that in the past people in Taiwan accessed information about the mainland mainly from traditional media like television or magazines. But, in recent years, social media platforms have offered a new channel for cross-Strait communication.

Through social media, people in Taiwan who have not visited the mainland can learn about local delicacies, interact with local residents, and gain insights into mainland culture, entertainment and daily life, Kuo said.

"While these experiences may not immediately lead to decisions about seeking employment on the mainland, they do spark curiosity and interest in exploring the possibilities of visiting the mainland."

Lee Hsuan, a young vlogger (or video-log producer) from Taitung in Taiwan, recently traveled to Gansu province, the first time she visited Northwest China. She used her camera to capture the scenery and sights of local food along the way — something she could not have experienced in Taiwan. She said she would publish the videos on social media.

"I hope these vivid images will attract more Taiwan residents to visit the mainland, not only the eastern coast but the wider hinterland, to experience the northwest scenery."

Wang Zaixi, vice-president of the National Society of Taiwan Studies in Beijing, said the younger generation on both sides of the Taiwan Strait can fully leverage the advantages of the internet and new media platforms to enhance communication with each other.

According to a report on Taiwan media outlet, a survey of youngsters on their online usage habits, released by the island-based NGO Taiwan Fund for Children and Families in May, revealed that TikTok and Little Red Book figure in the Top 10 apps that are most popular among Taiwan youth.

Unnerved by the growing popularity of these apps, some members of the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan alleged that the mainland is "infiltrating" the minds of young people in Taiwan through social media.

Zhu Fenglian, spokeswoman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said at a conference in March that "young people in Taiwan like these apps".

That is because the apps "are user-friendly, easy to understand, and fun, and these platforms offer various lifestyle guides".

So, the remarks of DPP members can only be seen as an attempt to manipulate political issues, Zhu said, adding it shows "their detachment from the everyday lives of Taiwan people".

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349