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China's Mobile Economy by Xiaodong Lee, Dominic Barton, Winston Ma

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Chapter 7 “Internet+” Movies

Just like Xiaomi, the dark horse of the smartphone market, the movie series Tiny Times also had the Chinese character for “little” in its name, but it was one of the biggest domestic hits in the mobile internet age.

Tiny Times is a novel-turned-movie series that follows four fashionable college girls navigating their way through romance, work and friendship in Shanghai. As such it has been likened to Gossip Girl and Sex and the City. In the summer of 2014, the premiere of Tiny Times 3.0 raked in nearly $20 million, a record for domestic 2D films. It shocked both the Chinese movie industry and Hollywood when it unseated the US blockbuster Transformers: Age of Extinction to reach the top of China's box office charts during the first week of its official release.

It was remarkable that Tiny Times 3.0’s origination, production and distribution were entirely shaped by social media, big data and internet financing, from beginning to end. The movie was based on a popular web novel, and the producer tapped into the novel's online fans and social network followers for suggestions on selecting the director and stars of the films. The distributors claimed that not a single advertising billboard was used across the country for marketing purposes; instead, promotion was done through the social networks of high school students and young adults. When the movie was criticized for its glorification of consumer culture, its fans – mostly young and female, like the ...

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