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Why Story of Yanxi Palace is a bigger deal for Hongkongers than US-China trade war, Typhoon Mangkhut and the World Cup

  • Hit Qing dynasty television series tops list of Google’s top trending searches for the year – just one of six dramas or movies in Hong Kong top 10
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 6:43pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 6:58pm

It’s official: Hongkongers cared more about a Chinese television drama more the US-China trade war, monster Typhoon Mangkhut, and everything else this year.

Google on Wednesday announced its top trending searches for this year, with the Chinese drama Story of Yanxi Palace topping the chart, followed by World Cup, WhatsApp Sticker, and Typhoon Mangkhut – one of the most powerful storms on record to hit the city – in September.

In fact, Hongkongers love entertainment so much that, of the top 10 trending searches, six are dramas or movies.

The 70-episode Story of Yanxi Palace, produced by mainland Chinese companies, is a drama about a quick-witted servant who investigates the death of her older sister amid a power struggle between back-stabbing Qing dynasty imperial concubines vying for the ruler’s affection with the hope that they may one day become empress.

The four most powerful women in The Story of Yanxi Palace

On one Sunday in August, an episode of the drama clocked up 530 million views online, setting a single-day online viewership record in China.

The hit drama, set in the court of Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799), is available in more than 70 markets globally, making it one of the most widely distributed period series produced in China.

The Google ranking looks at searches that had a high spike in search volume in 2018 over a sustained period from last year, and thus cannot be interpreted simply as a “most searched” ranking.

In the category of top trending Hong Kong news, the Fire Services Department’s mascot sensation “Anyone” – a blue mannequin-like figure that detractors said resembled a character in some Japanese porn films – only made it to fifth spot in the ranking.

The number one spot went to Typhoon Mangkhut, followed by the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, and then the Faster Payment System, a real-time platform allowing connectivity between banks.

Many Hongkongers did keep an eye on the trade war. In the category of top international news ranking, World Cup was first, followed by the US Midterm elections, Osaka earthquake, trade war, and then the Thai Wild Boars soccer team, the 12 boys and their coach who spent almost three weeks trapped in a flooded cave.

If the top trending category on travel destination is any clue as to where Hongkongers love to visit, Kaohsiung, a city in Taiwan, might have seen an influx of tourists as it topped the list. In second place was Taichung city, also in Taiwan, followed by South Korean capital Seoul, and Hualien, another Taiwanese city.

Google Hong Kong top trending keywords 2018

1. Story of Yanxi Palace (Mainland Chinese TV drama)

2. World Cup

3. WhatsApp Sticker

4. Typhoon Mangkhut

5. 2018 Book Fair

6. Life on the Line (Hong Kong TV drama)

7. Royal Love in the Palace (Mainland Chinese TV drama)

8. Along with the Gods (South Korean movie)

9. Flying Tiger (Hong Kong TV drama)

10. Daddy Cool (Hong Kong TV drama)