Child stars face challenges as opportunities grow

By Xu Fan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-10-13 09:29:49

Child stars face challenges as opportunities grow

Peng Yibo, 10, is among the child stars popular in China's bustling entertainment business.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Every day as Peng Yibo works on a film or television series set, the 10-year-old is never far from his father's sight.

The showbiz industry "is a bit chaotic and complex," explains Peng Wenda, the 43-year-old father of the child star. "As parents, we've been worried that he might be affected by some bad behavior or get injured."

A reflection of China's rising demographic of child and teenager stars, which has been growing so fast it's impossible to measure, Peng Yibo's rise to fame is a typical story of striving-a mix of sweat and tears.

Once a vendor in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang province, Peng Wenda abandoned the stable lifestyle of his hometown and moved to Beijing in 2009.

"Yibo has showed talent and strong interest in performing since his toddler days. We blindly moved to Beijing as we believed the city would have a number of opportunities," recalls the father, now a full-time agent and 24-hour nanny of his son.

It looks like he made the right move.

Most agents of child performers say Beijing is something of a Chinese answer to Hollywood, as the capital city features the largest number of studios and has the richest resources in the country.

Some parents spend a lot of money on training or agent fees, which reportedly runs into thousands of yuan and sometimes millions.

Peng Yibo had a bit of luck-he was taken under the wing of Huang Bo, one of China's most successful actors.

After performing in a minor role in the TV series Troubled Times Three Brothers, starring Huang and other A-listers Liu Ye and Zhang Hanyu, Peng Yibo was invited by Huang to star in the celebrity's avant-garde stage production of To Live.

Shooting to fame since then, Peng has been cast in nearly 20 movies and television series.

His latest big titles include the reportedly $100 million fantasy movie Asura, and the sequel of the hit TV series Home With Kids.

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