Aug 05, 2013

    Finding success online

    CHINESE cartoonists are increasingly finding fame online, where a menagerie of animated animals is proving to be a hit with netizens.

    They have opened an online shop and started various social-network accounts on services such as Weibo - the Chinese version of Twitter - and WeChat - a popular mobile-phone messaging app.

    Here are some cartoon characters that are gaining popularity in China.


    Ali, a cute fox character that Xu Han created in 2006, grew its fame on the Internet when bulletin-board systems and blogging were popular in China.

    Its popularity has continued to grow as Xu came up with more funny and vivid expressions for Ali, who is used in instant-messaging services as emoticons.

    Xu's company offers a large range of Ali-related merchandise, from dolls to flip-flops to game cards.


    Cartoonist Zhang Shaojie developed his cartoon - a yellow cat with a toilet plunger - into an online celebrity by updating the cat's Weibo frequently with comics or funny images of the cat.

    The cartoonist, who took a while to market his character, had named his cat "toilet plunger" in Chinese because the part where the cat's tail joins its rump looks like a plunger.


    Another cat, known as Luo Xiaohei, is also proving very popular.

    Luo Xiaohei is black, has a long tail and lives a heroic life depicted in short animated movies.

    Its creator, Zhang Ping, came up with his heroic cat in a short animation in 2011, which soon became a hit and has since been developed into a serial.

    The animation tells a funny story about a girl and her pet cat, who used to be a monster.

    The black cat has about 200,000 fans on Weibo.

    "I never thought of selling my film to television stations. I just went to the Internet," says Zhang, 29, from Zhejiang province.

    Known as MTJJ in the cyberworld, Zhang has his own e-commerce store on China's Taobao to sell products related to Luo Xiaohei. About 1,000 black-cat dolls were sold in July.