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Foreign YouTubers in China: the future strategy to grow bigger

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

With tons of fascinating videos are made and uploaded every day, YouTube, the biggest online video sharing platform, is the most prevalent social networking tool widely and globally used by video enthusiasts to record the beauty and adventure of the world. Even in China, the region where YouTube is not one of the mainstream media due to restriction of access, we still have many foreigners running their own YouTube channels through VPN. Some strikingly have accumulated over ten thousand or even more fans by making organic content regularly.


Photo 1:YouTuber Nico


It’s a trend that Vlog becomes the typical form of content creation that foreigners generally use to record the impressive and rememberable experiences they gain in China whilst traveling, working, living. Noticeably, the number of those Vloggers is increasing in the past few years. Some are beginning as a daily habit, some are shooting intending to keep somehow basic contact with their friends and family, but later turning to be a full-time Vlogger or a long-term career rather than teaching English or doing other business in China.


Spontaneously, Traveling & Food is the most chosen and original topic for those YouTubers, which then develops and derives into more segments and categories like Automotive, Technology, Lifestyle, etc. Political Analysis is the second hot and major topic favored by Vloggers who are dedicated to eliminating cultural bias.


Photo 2:YouTuber Xue Lian


In the past few months, I had the great honor and opportunity to communicate deeply with several YouTubers who are doing content about China. They have lived in China ranging from months to years. By talking with them, I surprisingly capture a phenomenon that those YouTubers have already mutually well-connected and formed their circle of friends. They chat with each other and share, sometimes doing co-branding altogether on YouTube to create more insane content. YouTube means a lot like LinkedIn, which links them to each other through sharing similar life experiences.


And I also realize that some passionate foreigners are eager to take their YouTube video making as their full-time job when they perceive that low quality and subjectless traveling videos are not eye-catching anymore.


Photo 3:YouTuber Magnus Dettmas


One of the YouTubers who has lived in China for 3 years, saying: “You have to work on a video wholeheartedly, usually it takes more than 10 hours for me to edit and then make an organic 10 mins or so video. To have a superior one, it asks for more time.” He takes video updating as his part-time job.

Time is an important factor to make an unparalleled video. A delicate sculpture always costs time to craft. Besides, photography is equally significant. A high-resolution video brings forward the immersing and impressive watching experience to the audiences.


“It is not easy, indeed, in the past few months. I ran behind my expenses to buy a new camera just for making a high-resolution video. It means a lot to your audience if you want to retain them and obtain more subscriptions. It is especially the case if you are looking forward to getting sponsorship from a big brand.” Shared by another YouTuber who focuses on making content about Chinese automotive. By upgrading his shooting equipment, he received a considerably good result.


Photo 4:YouTuber Walkabout

“But it is worthy and incredible. I can see the audiences quite enjoy it as the views and click rates increase evidently. If my audiences are happy with these, then everything is paying off.”

Photography optimization does help improve the content quality. But it is not working all the time. Essentially, creating an unrivaled video means more than that.


Photo 5:YouTuber BarrieV


A well-organized video with a thread or well-set storylines will be more outstanding and phenomenal. It powerfully and effectively attracts more traffics and subscriptions. However, it is hard for most of these freelance YouTubers to achieve as they don’t have a studio or professional team in specialty to deal with video and content design.


Nonetheless, we should know competition comes when more and more YouTubers are doing similar content. The first one making a video introducing the Great Wall has absolute advantages to be gleaming. The latecomers probably will improve the visual quality and shoot scripts to exceed the former and win the traffic. But suppose there are hundreds of great videos about the Great Wall, how do you distinguish yourself from others' content and channel. How do you convince audiences that your channel is worth their watching and subscribing to?


It’s definitely hard because aesthetic fatigue is doomed to bring down the heat and the audiences' attention to those homogeneous videos. Currently, more than one YouTubers ask me for advice about their channels’ future development as they are facing the problem. My opinion is almost the same as theirs in general. A transformation is needed if they want to boost more audiences and views. But by how?


The fact is many foreign influencers are doing videos about China but stopping on the surface or at the shallow. They forget China was like a big ocean. If you go deeper into the ocean, You will find more to explore. So what I am trying to stress is the importance of unique or exclusive content.


There are two keywords from me to be exclusive—— position & differentiation. Firstly, Your interests matter most largely. And this is what most YouTubers agree with because it is difficult to imitate someone else or be the second versatile Barrett who is covering every topic from food, travel to politics, etc. On the contrary, be specific, and cover one or two topics you are interested in most. If you dive straight into the depth, you will see the diversity of the ocean. And you will be clear about how to enrich your video content.


"Blondie in China" is a good example, her channel is themed on food and travel. " The Vlogger, Amy, is not just reviewing and talking about the Chinese cuisines, but also sharing the culture and origins behind the food because she made a lot of research for each dish. And those concrete introductions make her video very nourishing.


Photo 6:YouTuber Blondie in China


Secondly, she found out that Chinese food is more than what we simply perceive from the basic concepts of 8 types of regional cuisines. She steers her boat into traditionally and characteristic local food and dishes, which are less well-known on the International stage but have national fame. She is not doing Goingbao Chicken, Mapo Tofu anymore. Instead, She is presenting fresh and signature dishes to the audience. And that's why she's videos are very unrivaled, and nutritious among her peers. That's her differentiation strategy to distinguish her from other food YouTubers.


Likewise, it is also the same when you do traveling videos. in China, we are not just owning Ti'an Square, The Great Wall, West Lake, etc. You can also easily approach the insane scenery as in the photo shown below in every province. For the topic of Chinese architecture&building, ancient relics and hotel experiences are not everything, we also have well-designed, Chinese-style, retro homestays or even mansions. All in all, there are more spectacles than you can imagine on this great land to make your content unique. Just go into them rather than shooting the popular tourist attractions.


Photo 7: A spring hotel in Guangdong

( there are more than 10 resorts built similarly in Guangdong with an incredible view for tourists)


If you want to be the next great YouTuber in China, take my advice and it is going to help you greatly.


(Note: ALL THE PHOTOS IN THIS POST ARE SIMPLY FOR DISPLAYING, AND NO IMPLICATION BEHIND THE PHOTOS USED)

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