Chinese investors vent on anime-inspired website as stock market volatility rages on

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 July, 2015, 8:21am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 July, 2015, 8:21am

A Chinese computer engineer and lay stock investor has borrowed an idea from fans of Japanese anime and launched a website for people to post floating comments on the volatile state of the Chinese stock market, which has been making headlines since last week.

The site, Tangu, has already attracted over half a million hits, with much of the traffic driven by its popularity on Sina Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, claims its creator, Stephen He.

At present, it focuses exclusively on the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which crashed late last week and fell again on Thursday despite a barrage of measures by the government and regulators to shore up confidence.

The site combines line charts and timed floating comments. It invites analysis, predictions, jokes and complaints, and is seen as a pressure valve after the two Chinese stock exchanges began taking massive hits last week, causing many investors to suffer huge losses.

He, a 32-year-old from Shenzhen, a city in southern Guangdong province known as a hot bed for IT and tech start-ups, launched the site on Tuesday after seeing his own investments sour rapidly and having nowhere to vent, he said. 

“The current platforms for investors to share information are all traditional forums, which are too complicated and not entertaining enough,” he said.

“But when see funny comments, it puts me in a good mood, even if my stocks aren’t performing well.”

The concept of posting timed floating comments – known as danmu in Putonghua and danmaku in Japanese – originate from Japan’s anime culture. 

When anime fans watched cartoon videos online, they wanted their comments and thoughts to appear on the screen as well, so they came up with the idea of a special video player to facilitate this.

The comments can float across the screen from right to left or stay in a specific position for several seconds. The colours can also be changed to express He's mood, he said, for example turning red to express his wish for the market to perform well.

The concept was introduced to China in 2008 by video website Users can watch anime, TV dramas and entertainment shows.

“I hope Tangu can become bigger and more popular,” said He. 

He plans to add Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index to the site if it receives more traffic from the city, and is mulling ways of embedding a trading system so that it can become a more useful community platform.