- Parents of singer Karry Wang, of Chinese band TFBoys, opened a tea shop in Chongqing, western China, trading on his fame. They didn’t expect what happened next
- Wang fans queued for four hours on first day, and business exploded to the point staff were overwhelmed and machines broke down. The shop has since reopened
China's multibillion-yuan fan economy promises massive returns for entrepreneurs able to monetise the interactions between stars and their fans " but one couple in the western metropolis of Chongqing appear to have underestimated the thirst of pop music fans for a brush with their idol.
The parents of Karry Wang, a member of mega Chinese pop band TFBoys, capitalised on the fame of their 19-year-old son by opening a bubble tea store named Chaforu in their home city this month, but were forced to close after just three days.
The reason? Business was just too good.
Reports said more than 1,000 fans, mostly young girls, had queued up outside on the first day of business and some had to wait up to four hours to get a drink. News of the store opening spread rapidly on social media and photos of the queue and the outlet's drinks posted by fans waiting patiently to be served went viral.
Business exploded in the following days and some of Wang's fans even started queuing at 5am. One fan was quoted by as saying: "I arrived at the shop front at 7.30am. After a long wait, I finally got my milk tea at 11.30am. I even had a chance to have a chat with everyone's 'mother-in-law' (Wang's mother)."
But Wang's parents were not prepared for their overnight success. Three days after the shop's opening, Chaforu announced on Weibo, China's version of Twitter, that it would be closing temporarily, without providing a reason. In its post, the shop only thanked the fans for their support.
However, a Weibo user revealed that the shop had to close because its staff had been overwhelmed and its equipment broke down after just three days due to Wang's overwhelming popularity.
Bubble tea shop open by Karry's family.
CHA FOR U 星卡里 - in Chongqing.
When you go to Chongqing, don't forget to stop by and support yo ~
PS : Karry's mommy and daddy are so cute and loving. #王俊凯 #karrywang #wangjunkai pic.twitter.com/cs0vw013gx
" firstloveneverdie (@halurita) June 30, 2019
The store recently reopened and business is still booming " so much so that Wang himself doesn't dare pay a visit. Late last week he was seen loitering outside the shop wearing a black mask, but sent an assistant in to get his favourite drink to avoid causing chaos inside.
Chaforu's success is just the latest example of the hype surrounding China's fan economy that emerged alongside the rise of Chinese idols such as TFBoys.
Wang made his debut as a member of TFBoys in 2013, at the age of 13 with fellow members Roy Wang and Jackson Yee. The trio quickly became superstars and by 2016 Karry Wang was said to be one of the country's wealthiest young performers, although fellow member Yee eclipsed him as the most valuable star in China by amassing more than 70 million followers on Chinese social media network Weibo, more than the population of the UK.
Together the TFBoys " the most famous of the young stars referred to as "little fresh meat" in China " are said to be worth US$4 billion.
Outside of his work with TFBoys, Wang has started releasing solo singles, but his career has slowed somewhat since he enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy in 2017. Last year he starred in the hit television drama series Eagles and Youngsters, and has joined the cast for the yet-to-be-released fantasy animated feature L. O. R. D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties 2.
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