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TV hostess Xie Na (right) briefly surpasses actress Yao Chen as "queen of weibo."
It's always entertaining to watch celebrities fight, whether in reality or online.
A-list actress Yao Chen, with the largest fan base on Sina Weibo, has been enjoying her glory in the digital world and was crowned "Queen of the micro blogs".
But at the end of last month a TV hostess from Hunan TV, Xie Na, gained several hundred more followers with her funny jokes.
"I heard that I was crowned 'Queen of the mirco blogs'! I couldn't believe it! It happened so fast, and it won't last for long, so I have to make the best use of my time to show off a little bit," Xie posted that day. She also provocatively uploaded a picture of herself wearing a queen's robe and laughing.
Yao had around 10 posts the same day, all about her trip to New Zealand. She won the battle, earning another 500,000 followers, which helped her to ascend the throne again.
"Each of my posts is a thought, even if it is reposted. They all represent my opinion and attitude toward something," Yao said in an exclusive interview with China Daily.
Social media like Sina Weibo have become more powerful than ever and can affect whether a celebrity is successful, according to Xiao Yongliang, a professor at Beijing Normal University.
"It is a new platform for celebrities to expand their popularity. It doesn't matter who has the most followers, actually. The process of them fighting for the top is eventually gaining attention from society," Xiao says.
According to Sina Weibo, the 10 people with the most followers are all actors, actresses, performers, singers and TV hosts. Ninety percent of the top 100 are from the entertainment industry. Kai-Fu Lee, a high-profile information technology executive and former head of Google China, ranks 11th with around 21,500,000 followers, the highest among those outside showbiz.
According to Sina, the three most popular posts are celebrities talking about their lives, social issues and inspiring stories.
Yao reposts and comments on social issues frequently, while most of Xie's posts are about her private life.
"It does not matter what they are posting. Commenting on social issues is the same as revealing a celebrity's private life. What they do on weibo is all about one thing: maintaining exposure to their fans," Xiao says.
Zhang Han, director of Sina Entertainment Channel, does not believe that celebrities are intentionally "fighting" for top place. "It can only prove more celebrities are using Sina Weibo. They will gradually find it is a very good platform to raise their profiles, promote their work and clear up rumors," Zhang says.
Yao also says she does not care whether she is the queen or not. "If I really think I am the queen in weibo, it would be very silly. I speak what is on my mind. That's all," she says.
"Weibo's role in my life, actually, is changing all the time. At first, it was a private platform, but gradually I realized it does not belong to me anymore - I am not able to show too much personal emotion. Now I am accepting the fact that it is a private space, at the same time, it is a public area ... it uses public resources," she adds.
But the audiences still love to watch the battle.
Han Bingbin contributed to the story.