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Which sports web celebrities were the hottest in China in 2016?

Thursday, 29 Dec 2016 16:07   |   By Yutang Sports

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Although C. Ronaldo has more global followers than any Chinese athlete, he could not compete with the Chinese sports web celebrities on online topic participation and search frequency. The latter could easily reach hundreds of millions online in China. 

Here are some of the hottest Chinese sports web celebrities in 2016 (not a comprehensive list): 

Liu Guoliang, the Head Coach of the Chinese Men’s National Table Tennis Team 

Followers: 1.24M 

Topic participants: 0.32B 

Number of searches: 0.1B 

Liu Guoliang didn’t launch his personal social media account until after the Rio Olympic Games, and created a record by getting 500K followers in 2 days. He became famous online not for his achievements or appearance, but for scolding his players. 

Sun Yang, Swimmer 

Followers: 32.18M 

Topic participants: 1.46B 

Number of searches: 0.62B 

The sports event that got most attention in 2016 was definitely the Rio Olympic Games. But whose news has got the most searches within the sports industry in 2016? Sun Yang winning a gold medal. 

Sun Yang won both the Men’s 400m Freestyle and the Men’s 1500m Freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics. He won the Men’s 200m Freestyle at the Rio Olympics and was the only Chinese male Olympic swimming champion. 

During the recent Olympics, Sun Yang’s offsite behavior has received mixed reviews. He had conflicts with his team on sponsorship issues, had trouble with his coach about his air hostess girlfriend and had a car accident while driving without a license. 

However, Sun Yang is one of the few top Chinese athletes that take part in variety shows throughout the year without compromising their sports performance. He has become a regular guest on the reality show “Takes A Real Man,” with a remuneration similar to the Chinese A-listers like Mini Yang -- around RMB 2M per day. 

Fu Yuanhui, Swimmer 

Followers: 8.01M 

Topic participants: 0.94B 

Number of searches: 0.32B 

The searches for Fu Yuanhui has reached 0.33B, which far outnumbers the other Chinese female athletes like Wu Minxia (a diver), Zhu Ting (a volleyball player) and Ding Ning (a table tennis player). Her best result so far is only an Olympics bronze medal, but her unique sense of humour and her frank and optimistic personality have attracted lots of netizens. Her endorsement fee is also among the top female athletes, just short of RMB 10M. 

As for other female athletes, the searches on Wu Minxia, the winner of 5 diving gold medals, who has just announced her retirement, has reached 86.75M. The searches on Ding Ning, the winner of all the international table tennis tournaments, has reached 59.58M, and that of the Chinese Women Volleyball Player Zhu Ting has reached 66M. The topic participants for Fu Yuanhui throughout the year is 0.94B, Ding Ning 0.73B, Liu Shiwen (a table tennis player) 0.37B, and Zhu Ting 0.27B. Only Fu Yuanhui has more followers than Ning Zetao (a male swimmer), while all the other female athletes have less than 2M followers. 

Ning Zetao, Swimmer 

Followers: 7.8M 

Topic participants: 2.87B 

Number of searches: 0.33B 

After winning the Men’s 100m Freestyle at the 2015 FINA World Championship in Kazan, Ning Zetao didn’t make a breakthrough in sports performance, but instead almost missed the Rio Olympic Games because he had been doing private advertisements. Although he finally did get the chance to take part in the Olympics Game, he failed to win any medal. 

Every post from Ning Zetao always arouses a widespread response. His recent publicity is not about his competition results or returning to the National Swimming Team, but about his new advertisement with lots of nice photos. Maybe the conflict between the advertiser and the national team has been solved? 

Translated and edited from: Guangzhou Daily

Proofread by Sean O Diobhilin

Tags: swimming,table tennis

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