In an era defined by the convergence of technology, entertainment and cultural exchange, individuals from diverse backgrounds are shaping industries in unique ways. This article explores the journeys of Chinese basketball influencer Ziqi (Tiger) Luo, actor and director Peter (Yiping) Jia and former professional esports player Ted Wang. Their stories offer insight into the current and future landscape of their respective industries for Chinese and Chinese-American talents.
Ziqi (Tiger) Luo: Elevating Chinese Basketball on the Global Stage
Ziqi’s journey from a college graduate with an uncertain future to a basketball influencer with millions of followers showcases the power of social media. His decision to reveal his face, build a personal brand and transition from basic commentary to immersive vlogs created an authentic and personal connection with his viewers and jumpstarted his career. “I want more people to see me. I started on social media when everyone was at home due to the pandemic. It was a blowout for all social media, and I saw a chance to create content that stands out.”
Ziqi’s achievements, including a documentary with CCTV and collaborations with NBA stars like Lamelo Ball highlight the ability of Chinese influencers to attract a global fan base. “My goal is to build my brand and build brand awareness, not only in China but also in America. I want to bring foreign athletes to China, bridging the gap and bringing talent from diverse backgrounds to the vast Chinese basketball market.”
However, entering a predominantly non-Asian industry such as sports media, Ziqi must also navigate the many challenges that come with his newfound success, from negative comments to balancing personal and career goals.
Yiping (Peter) Jia: Pioneering Chinese Theater in the U.S.
Yiping (Peter) Jia‘s mission to establish a new industry of Chinese-language drama films in the U.S. stems from a desire to contribute to the cultural diversity of the country. His decades-long experience in the entertainment industry, coupled with an acknowledgment of the lack of Chinese cultural representation fuels his dedication to fostering Chinese theater in the United States.
“The United States is a country with a very diverse culture. Every ethnic group should contribute to integration. Cultural representation is essential to meet the cultural needs of Chinese people living here.”
Yiping’s goals extend beyond theatrical performances; he envisions an industry that includes the creation, funding and marketing of Chinese theater. He wishes to provide a platform for Chinese children to showcase their talents and nurture a sense of identity and pride in the Chinese community.
“If we have a stage, these children can showcase their talents. It will make others envious and help them find a unique identity.”
While Yiping recognizes that the current focus is on a predominantly Chinese audience, he envisions a future where Chinese theater can be presented in English, increasing its accessibility to a larger population.
Ted Wang: Beyond the Esports Arena
Ted Wang, formerly known as Silkthread, transitioned from a professional esports player to a college student majoring in business and data science at UC Berkeley. His achievements in professional gaming, including reaching rank No.1 globally in Overwatch and competing in the Overwatch League for the Los Angeles Valiant and Los Angeles Gladiators, reflect the dynamic and sometimes volatile nature of the esports industry.
“Esports is a numbers game, and luck plays a significant role. Pursue your passion, but have something optional if things don’t work out.”
Ted’s decision to retire from professional gaming was driven by burnout and prioritization of personal growth and health. He also acknowledged the many cultural hurdles he faced pursuing a career in a field that many Asian parents traditionally look down upon. “Being Asian, there was a bit of a barrier, especially with Asian parents not viewing gaming positively. However, my parents were supportive once I signed, as long as I eventually came back to school.”
Ted’s advice to aspiring esports professionals underscores the need for career flexibility and the recognition of the challenges within the industry.
Converging Futures: The Intersection of Influencers, Theater, and Esports
The experiences of Ziqi (Tiger) Luo, Yiping (Peter) Jia, and Ted Wang highlight the evolving landscape for Chinese and Chinese American talents. As influencers redefine global visibility, theater pioneers shape cultural representation, and esports professionals navigate new career trajectories, their stories intersect at the crossroads of cultural exchange, personal growth, and industry innovation.
The future holds the promise of a more interconnected world, where the influence of Chinese talents continues to expand across industries. Their journeys collectively contribute to a narrative that transcends cultural boundaries and propels the influence of Chinese and Chinese-American individuals into new and uncharted territories.