How hip hop culture is used on marketing in China ?

The most visible change in China these two years is about the rising of hip-hop culture. Hip-hop style never has gone mainstream in China, as it is an anti-establishment subculture by nature, it is not favored by the government. It’s been forced to grow underground but nowadays, it’s becoming more and more important among consumers. We can see for example that most fashion leaders turned their style into street wear. Want some information about cross-border and e-commerce in China? Click here.

The launch of “The rap of China” has played a decisive role in favor of this trend. Let’s know more about this show.

About the rap of China

« The rap of China » is the first hip-hop music show in China. It is made by Iqiyi (a popular video website) and released during the summer of 2017. The show invited four famous celebrities as producers: Kris WU (吴亦凡), Hot dog (热狗), Chang Csun yuk (张震岳) and Wilber Pan (潘玮柏). Since the beginning of the broadcast, it was on weibo’s hot search list every week. “The Rap of China” had more than 1,2 billion million topics, with fans participating actively in the discussion. “Hip-hop” has become the “Wifi” connecting people between themselves. According to local Chinese media, the average viewership of each episode is currently around 200 million.

As it was a new experience in China, the whole research and preparatory work for this show lasted for two months. About 200 rappers and hip-hop singers were invited to come to Beijing and talk with the production team about their life, their music and their opinion on TV programs. This is also the first program without scripts. Under the established rules, everything really happened. To “keep real” is a key point for hip-hop culture and this show respect it. That’s why “rap of China” is so hot.

Moreover, this show allows a lot of rappers to become well-known to the public. While before they were called “underground rappers”, nowadays a lot of them are at the top of topics and trends.

Streetwear brands and hip-hop fashion are growing in China

The Chinese millennials have massive purchasing power and they also show strong interest in streetwear culture. Whether it is only about the trend or it is a way to express their individuality, young Chinese people are very affected by hip-hop fashion. From this perspective, the show has a high impact on brands as it offers free marketing and promotion through what players had wear. This wildly popular show lets high-end streetwear brands, including Off-White, Vetements, Raf Simons to become household names.

Kris Wu, one of the producers of the show, becomes a fashion icon and a luxury ambassador. For example, Supreme became particularly hot in China during this last year.

Using rap into marketing

After the Web-show “The rap of China”, Chinese marketing get a new way to operate. A lot of brands collaborate with rappers and turn their advertising into a hip-hop style. It really impacts the promotion, through millennials and generation Z in particularly. They are the youngest population and use to stay-up-to-date with fashion and trendy stuff. They are also very connected and share actively.


Alibaba collaborated with two of the most popular players in “The rap of China” to make a rap music about Alipay. The video clip shows them in a simple way of life. It also links china’s cashless society with notions of “free” and “freestyle”:  no cash no burden. The lyrics expressed at the same time that Alipay is connecting people and also offering new opportunities.


Elema, a food ordering app, collaborate also with a rapper who participated in the show. They made a song called “Hungry” which promote the use and the convenience of the application. The video clip shows weekend scenarios, and use hip-hop to present young people’s life, having fun, chilling and finding all their needs on the app.


Samsung galaxy chooses to collaborate with three of the most powerful candidates of “The rap of China”. They made this music named “To be the center of attention everywhere”, showing confidence and energy through hip hop.

There is a lot of other advertisings using hip-hop feeling and rappers to influence consumers. Rap represents a new tool which can express true feelings in a direct way. This trend also brings fresh air to people who are accustomed to being busy and to hide their expression.

China is a promising and huge market with its own culture and way to function. Ready to start a business in China? Do not hesitate to contact for more advice. Gentlemen Marketing Agency is specialized in digital marketing in the Chinese market. We catch the trend on the Chinese market and provide to your business e-commerce solutions, promotion and advertising, SEO strategies, and all marketing agencies worthy of the name should be able to do. Let your project come true!

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