For many, 2012 was the year that China's netizens took to their keyboards and made their presence known. And where virals and internet memes were concerned, they really marked their territory. Here, SCMP.com picks the China virals that took the world by storm in 2012.
CCTV's happiness survey
When China Central Television (CCTV) asked random Chinese people whether they were happy they were accused of forcing people to fake happiness. But the broadcast of nine episodes of A Happiness Survey of China's Grass Roots Ahead of the 18th Party Congress, also drew a few laughs. With the pronunciation of "are you happy" in Putonghua - ni xingfu ma - sounding similar to "is Fu your surname", one busy migrant worker in Taiyuan, Shanxi, answered impatiently: "My name is Zeng."
HK locust advert
2012 was the year when relations between Hongkongers and mainland Chinese hit a new low after a war of words turned into name-calling.
Mainlanders called Hongkongers dogs and slaves, and Hongkongers labeled the former “locusts.”
A full page advert depicting a locust peering over the peak at Hong Kong further stoked tensions when it appeared in Apple Daily, funded by a group of internet users.
Girl poses wearing 'cash' dress from sugar daddy
China's social networks became hot and bothered when a young woman posted a picture of herself wearing a dress from her 'sugar daddy' that appeared to be made banknotes.
“Just another gold digger,” said one Weibo user.
The post sparked a flurry of interest on the internet and was reposted more than 24,000 times within days of its publication.
Teenager slapping and kicking father
A video of a 14-year-old girl repeatedly slapping and kicking her father on a street in Nanjing went viral in November, sparking criticism from netizens of both the girl and her dad. In the video clip, the teenage girl named Xiaojin is seen slapping her father’s face multiple times before punching and kicking him. What internet users found most baffling was the father’s calm demeanor. He appeared neither angry nor defensive while being attacked by his daughter.
Cross-dressing Chinese grandfather
A 72-year-old grandfather took the internet by storm when he modelled ladies clothes for his granddaugher's fashion business. Lu Qing, who lives in southern China’s Guangdong province, posted pictures of her grandfather dressed in an array of pink skirts, red tights and fur-lined women’s jackets to promote her online fashion outlet Yecoo.
The images of Liu Xianping went viral and saw him branded the “world’s coolest” grandfather by internet users for his slender legs and modelling poise.
Doomsday survival pod maker
As the world awaited the arrival of Doomsday, as predicted by the Mayan calendar, one Chinese man had been busy building a survival pod in case things got a little apocalyptic. Zhejiang inventor Yang Zongfu successfully crashed-tested his survival pod - and became an instant YouTube hit. Alas, the world didn't end and Yang Zongfu is now stuck with several pods.
Aircraft Carrier style
Hot on the heels of Gangnam Style came Aircraft Carrier Style, an internet meme based on televised footage of China's first successful landing of a jet fighter aboard its only aircraft carrier.
The image of two crew members aboard the vessel Liaoning crouching and using their outstretched right arms to direct a J-15 jet sparked a flurry of copycat poses.
World's most expensive baklava
It became known on the net as the world's most expensive baklava. A slice of Xinjiang cake became a trending topic on Sina Weibo when it found itself at the centre of an ethnic flare-up in Yueyang after nut cakes worth about 160,000 yuan [US$25,000] were destroyed in a mass brawl.