A Chinese Music Video, QQ-style

The phrase 中国特色 means “Chinese characteristics,” and it’s one you hear a lot in China-centered conversations. When it comes to instant messaging with Chinese characteristics, the only game in town is QQ. Even though it started out as a clone of the once-popular IM client ICQ, over time it has gained its own personality (although I will never forgive it for its malware phase). I really like its “hide” feature, and I wonder why other IM clients don’t use a similar one.

[To learn Chinese related to QQ, check out this ChinesePod lesson: MSN and QQ.]

Anyway, browsing Youku (a Chinese YouTube clone), I stumbled upon this “music video with QQ characteristics.” Here’s a screenshot:


I don’t like the song itself, but the QQ-style presentation is enjoyable (for 30 seconds or so).

(Are Youku videos viewable outside of China?)

On a related note, the “Back Dorm Boys” (后舍男生) seem to have their own Youku page now, but does anyone still care?



John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Thats kind of interesting.
    Yes Youku works outside of China but it is so slow, even slower than tudou. Many websites link to it to view copyrighted movies that local servers refuse to host.

  2. I can view the video here in America. 🙂

  3. Cute. What is the hide feature?

  4. TuZongHua Says: March 30, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Yah youku and tudou are both super duper slow…. it’s like watching trees grow, or water freeze, or American politics become better.

    personally, the best bang for your video buck is PPStream!

  5. jo byrne Says: March 30, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    i have qq and i think it is just as good , if not better , than most others around . Am i wrong in thinking that msn has a similar feature on their IM “appear off line ” if this is what you are on about ?

  6. I agree with all the complaints about Youku and Tudou slowness, but I do find Youku better more of the time. Probably just random, or maybe conspiracy (!) as I was most recently playing around with an extremely long and dull gov’t press conference video that always seemed to load extremely fast.

    BTW, Victor Mair mentioned the origin of Youku on Language Log a few wks ago and had this to say

    The creators of this ersatz YouTube have christened their video sharing service with two English words written in Chinese characters, “you” and “cool.” The first relies on a pinyin-English faux ami and the second on a not-so-near-homophonous sinographic transcription of an English word. Mandarin KU4 = English “cool” has a very high frequency among youth, despite the fact that the character chosen to represent the English sound is not exactly what one would consider the semantically most appropriate choice.

  7. Where will they shoot their next clip? A KTV perhaps?

    Has anyone heard Chinese calling YouTube “U2B”? I don’t know whether it’s a misreading of the English spelling (you – tu – be), or just a Chinese nickname.

  8. Does anyone else think ppstream is funny? its like pee-pee-stream or piss stream depending on your interpretation.

  9. the brand new Hi Baidu is coming to compete with QQ !

  10. Is PP stram like PPlive(the plugin for windows media player that lets you view Chinese TV channels and old films.)?

  11. Wilson: there’s a word in Chinese 屁屁, pronounced “pee-pee”, which is a cute-sounding word for ass, so I really don’t know what they were thinking.

    While we’re on the topic, there’s also something called PPLive. Now, I took one look at this and pronounced it to rhyme with “hive”, but my Chinese colleague pronounces it to rhyme with “sieve”. Am I the only one who thinks Chinese internet services should just “say bye-bye” to English names once and for all, and save themselves a bit of face?

  12. As much as QQ is a great tool to keep tabs on your Chinese friends, and study the language, it’s quirky design never ceases to piss me off. For example, now whenever you chat with somebody who is using a cell phone, every single message comes with the tag


    (your friend is using QQ on his cell phone. For more information ask your friend or click here)

    I have asked my friends about this and they all say there is no way to stop it. Now if it were only in the first message of an exchange I could understand, but every single time the other party sends you a message, it is followed by this annoying tag. If there is a way to disable this, please let me know so I can inform my buddy list.

  13. It is viewable from Denmark too.

  14. Oh and QQ sucks in so many ways, but it’s a cool tool if you are Chinese and live in Denmark. I have spotted that by looking at my my wife daily.

    Be aware of the spybots, vira-wannabees and similar though.

  15. kitkatz23 Says: June 3, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Does anyone know if there is a qq chatroom or group for learning chinese???

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