Seventeen years ago, the South Korean hit television series, Autumn in My Heart, was all the rage in China, marking the beginning of hallyu, or K-pop culture.
There is no denying that South Korean culture, from makeup to fashion style and from music to films, has a huge following in China and Asia as a whole.
However, as many Chinese TV and film makers come up with new ideas and abandon the stereotype of learning from foreign counterparts, a new wave of Chinese culture is sweeping the world, gaining attention from foreign viewers.
Ancient spy drama attracts foreigners' attention
"I really like this magical drama and I usually only watch Korean dramas or movies but I have to admit the Chinese actors are really talented and the story is wonderful," says Canadian online user Sara Rojas on YouTube.
The magical drama she refers to is Princess Agents, a costume detective drama that first aired on the Hunan TV channel on June 5.
Set against the backdrop of chaotic times during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) when innocent citizens are often kidnapped and turned into slaves, the drama follows a woman, Chu Qiao, as she rises from a lowly slave to a successful military strategist, as well as a female general in the people’s hearts.
Princess Agents releases two episodes a day from Monday to Thursday, and foreign online users can watch its English version six hours later on YouTube.
Even at such frequency, quite a few fans complain about the slow updates.
"Oh my Gosh! It is really killing me to wait for the English version. I just love the drama so much that I cannot wait to see the latest episode. I hope that kind Chinese users can quickly translate the Chinese versions in time to ease my pain of waiting," says 23-year-old Sey KompungCham on YouTube. "Also, the actress Zhao Liying is very beautiful and I am a big fan."
To appeal to foreign viewers, producers have set up an official YouTube account that boasts over 15 million views and 125,000 followers by July 12. Each episode attracts over 60,000 hits on average.