Taiwanese Actor Eddie Peng Replaces Song Joong-Ki As Face Of Vivo, Bigwigs Call For Chinese-Hallyu Union

Chinese smartphone maker Vivo has named actor Eddie Peng as its brand ambassador. The Taiwanese actor has replaced Song Joong-ki, who, until July, was the face of Vivo. According to the company, Peng is an epitome of the brand’s vibrance and positivity, said a report by Asia Today.

Peng, however, was only the second choice to represent Vivo.

In May, the smartphone maker offered the brand ambassador role to South Korean actor Song Joong-ki. The decision was taken after the Hallyu star catapulted to fame in the K-drama Descendants of the Sun. The military romance created what one might call a “Song Joong-ki effect.” Several companies across Asia, including Vivo, rushed to sign up Song Joong-ki as their brand ambassador.

The Hallyu heartthrob made a few commercials for Vivo. However, the actor’s relationship with the smartphone maker came to a standstill when China, upset by South Korea’s stance on THAAD, imposed a blanket ban on Hallyu stars. The announcement came in July, after which South Korea suffered a bad economy.

According to news reports, Vivo had signed a contract to pay Song Joong-ki more than 22 million yuan ($3.3 million) a year. The actor stopped shooting for Vivo in July. The company, however, said it will pay the actor what was promised.

After a two-month hunt, Vivo has now signed up Taiwanese actor Eddie Peng as its brand ambassador. The actor is currently making headlines for The Great Wall, an upcoming American-Chinese action movie starring Matt Damon and Jing Tian. The movie is slated for release in December.

Vivo has high hopes for Eddie Peng. The company believes that the actor will help boost the sales of its new Vivo X9. The company said that Eddie Peng represents the brand’s positivity, a report by Asia Today stated.

South Korean entertainment firms, cosmetic brands and businesses that depend on China’s revenues have suffered losses in shares since the announcement of the ban on Hallyu talent.

According to a recent report by Korea Herald, China-sensitive stocks of entertainment and cosmetics companies took a nosedive on Monday.

On the Kosdaq market, S.M. Entertainment stock, South Korea’s largest entertainment agency, plunged 8.2 percent to 25,900 won on Monday. Stocks of YG Entertainment fell 6.9 percent to 26,300 won, while those of JYP Entertainment declined by 2.8 percent to 5,230 won.

Meanwhile, life has become difficult for South Korean actors and singers to engage in Chinese entertainment business. Scenes featuring Korean singer Hwang Chi-yeul on a Chinese TV show were cut out. The premiere of Korean drama Saimdang, Light’s Diary, featuring actress Lee Young-ae is postponed to next year. It was earlier scheduled for October.

“Such a ban, if detailed out later, will limit drama production firms’ sales of overseas copyrights and hurt management fees of entertainment agencies. The Chinese ban on Hallyu, in the wake of the THAAD deployment decision, will keep weighing on the entire entertainment industry,” Lee Won-seok, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities, told Korea Herald.

Several bigwigs want China and South Korea to work together to promote Hallyu.

According to a report by SCMP, Chang Won-kie, president of Samsung (China), said, “Over the last centuries, American culture has dominated the global market thanks to the internet, social network services, and smartphones that it created. Korea and China should establish their own industrial chain, including materials, software, hardware, and services, to connect culture and lifestyles.”

“Korean customers are very sensitive, particularly about new technology. Also, Korea and China share a similar culture,” he said.

These days, South Korea is creating entertainment based on Chinese culture. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart, Ryeo starring IU and Lee Joon-gi, is based on a Chinese drama plot.

“With period dramas having a historical background, Koreans and Chinese became interested in each others’ culture and history,” said Cho Yoon-sun, minister of culture, sports and tourism.

It remains to be seen if China and South Korea will work out their differences.

[Featured Image by Kin Cheung/AP Images]