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Teresa Teng made Mandopop a true mainstay by crossing over to mainland China after Deng Xiaoping came to power and instituted the open door policy in 1978 that allowed cultural products from Hong Kong and Taiwan to enter China. Teng's song became popular there despite an early ban on her songs by the PRC government for being "Bourgeois Music". [32] Her "soft, sweet, often whispery and restrained" singing style in romantic songs such as "The Moon Represents My Heart" (月亮代表我的心) made a strong impact in mainland China where revolutionary songs were previously prevalent. [33] A common expression then was "By day, Deng Xiaoping rules China. But by night, Deng Lijun (Teresa Teng) rules". [34] The ban on Teng was lifted in 1986 and songs from Hong Kong and Taiwan, called gangtai music, became more popular within mainland China.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, a different generation of Taiwanese singers and/or songwriters such as Chyi Yu, Hou Dejian, and Lo Ta-yu emerged, some of whom were influenced by folk rock and whose music may be termed "campus folk music". [35] One of the most successful songs of the era was Lo Ta-yu's 1985 song "Tomorrow Will Be Better", which was inspired by the American song "We Are the World" and originally performed by 60 singers. [36] [37] It quickly became a hit throughout Asia and established itself as a standard. Another song soon followed in 1986 in mainland China called "Let the World be filled with Love" (讓世界充滿愛). [36] Hou Dejian's song "Descendants of the Dragon" (龍的傳人) also became an anthem for the period. Unlike previous eras dominated by female singers, male singers are now popular, and other popular male singers included Liu Wen-cheng and Dave Wong. Wong released his Chinese debut album A Game A Dream (一場遊戲一場夢), which sold over 500,000-copies in December 1987.[ citation needed ] By around 1980, the term Mandopop began to be used for the Chinese popular music that had emerged in this period. [1] Many Cantopop songs of the period were also sung in Mandarin by the same singers. [2]

In South East Asia, popular local stars from the late 60s to the 80s included Sakura Teng (樱花), Zhang Xiaoying (張小英) and Lena Lim (林竹君) from Singapore, and Wong Shiau Chuen (黃曉君) and Lee Yee (李逸) from Malaysia. [38] Some such as Lena Lim achieved some success outside the region, and the local labels also signed singers from outside the region such as Long Piao-Piao (龍飄飄) from Taiwan. The recording industry in Singapore in particular thrived. In 1979, Singapore launched the Speak Mandarin Campaign to promote the use of Mandarin over the range of Chinese dialects spoken by various segments of the ethnic-Chinese population. Mandarin songs, already a strong presence on radio stations and on television, further eroded the popularity of Hokkien and Cantonese songs in the media. [39] In the 1980s, a genre of Mandarin ballads called xinyao developed in Singapore by singers/songwriters such as Liang Wern Fook. [40]

In mainland China, the music industry was freed from state restriction in 1978, and regional recording companies were established in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing in the 1980s with local singers. [22] Pop music in China in this period was dominated by Mandopop songs from Taiwan and Cantopop from Hong Kong, however the 1980s saw the beginning of rock music in China, with the emergence of singer-songwriters such as Cui Jian, followed by others such as He Yong and bands such as Tang Dynasty which became popular in the 1990s. [41]


A number of singers originally from mainland China such as Faye Wong and Na Ying began to record in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Faye Wong, referred to in the media as the Diva, first recorded in Cantonese in Hong Kong, later recorded in Mandarin. She became the first Chinese singer to perform in Budokan, Japan. [42] [43]

During this period, many Cantopop singers from Hong Kong such as the "Four Heavenly Kings" - Aaron Kwok, Leon Lai, Andy Lau and Jacky Cheung - also began to dominate Mandopop. One of the best-selling Mandarin albums was the 1993 album The Goodbye Kiss by Jacky Cheung which sold over 1 million in Taiwan and 4 million in total Asia-wide. [44] [45] Nonetheless, Taiwan has their own popular singers such as Stella Chang, Sky Wu, Wakin Chau (formerly Emil Chau) and Jeff Chang. Independent labels such as Rock Records began to establish themselves in this period as some of the most influential labels. Towards the end of the 90s, other singers such as Leehom Wang and David Tao became popular, and some also began to perform in the R&B and/or hip-hop genres.

In the period from the mid-1990s to early 2000s, Shanghai and Beijing became centers of the music industry in mainland China, with Shanghai focusing on music record publishing and distribution, while Beijing focused on music recording. [22]

2000s-2010s: Growth in Mainland China

In Hong Kong, the Four Heavenly Kings faded in the 2000s, but many other new artists such as Nicholas Tse and Eason Chan came to the fore. The 2000s also began with an explosion of pop idols, many of whom are from Taiwan. Mainland China also saw a rapid increase in the number of Mandopop singers, bands, and idol groups as pop music becomes increasingly mainstream by mid-2000s. The growing Mainland film industry and Chinese television drama also increased demand for Mandopop. Since the 2000s, the emergence of indie rock in mainland China and Taiwan had exploded into a flourishing indie music scene in mainland China and Taiwan, adding various new diversities into Mandopop. Entry of popular Taiwan-based bands such as Mayday and Sodagreen while in mainland Chinese-based bands such as SuperVC and Milk Coffee had brought a new phase of rock fusion into Mandopop.

The music industry in Taiwan, however, began to suffer from music piracy in the digital age, and its revenue plummeted to $US95 million in 2005. The primary revenue sources in Taiwan music industry shifted to advertising, concerts, KTV (karaoke) and movie. The dramatic decline of CD sales shifted the market in favour of mainland China. [46] While piracy was also severe in mainland China, the percentage of its digital sales is higher compared to most countries. [47] 2005 was known as 'The First Year of Digital Music' in China as its digital music sales of $US57 million overtook CDs in 2005, [48] and it also overtook Taiwan in term of the retail value of its music sales. [49]

However, while mainland China became increasingly important in generating revenue, the pop music industry itself in mainland China was still relatively small in the decade of 2000s compared to Taiwan and Hong Kong as popstars from Taiwan and other overseas Chinese communities were still popular in mainland China. [46] Mandopop singers such as Jay Chou were popular performing in the rhythm and blues and rap music genre, popularising a new fusion style of music known as zhongguofeng. Other successful singers include Stefanie Sun and Jolin Tsai. Many Cantopop singers also turned towards the Mandopop industry due to disputes among entertainment and record companies in Hong Kong and to increase their fan base.[ citation needed ]

In recent years, the burgeoning number of contests have brought an idol concept (偶像, ǒuxiàng) to the Mandopop industry. Nationwide singing competitions in mainland China, such as the Super Girl, Super Boy, The Voice of China, Chinese Idol, and The X Factor: Zhongguo Zui Qiang Yin, have greatly boosted Mandopop's influence many contestants emerge as successful singers such as Joker Xue, Jane Zhang, Bella Yao, Chris Lee (Li Yuchun), Jason Zhang, Chen Chusheng, Momo Wu Mochou, Laure Shang Wenjie, etc. The same phenomenon also occurred in Taiwan, from the show One Million Star and Super Idol, new talented singers have entered the Mandopop market, including Aska Yang, Yoga Lin, Lala Hsu and so on. In Taiwan, the term "quality idol" (優質偶像, yōuzhì ǒuxiàng) has entered the popular lexicon, referring to Mandopop singers who are good-looking, talented and highly educated, among them Wang Leehom and William Wei. [50]

Recent years also saw the rise in crossover appeal of Taiwanese bubblegum pop boybands and girl bands to the mainland Chinese scene, such as the very commercially successful acts like S.H.E and Fahrenheit. Several new boybands and girl bands also have emerged in mainland China such as Top Combine, TFBOYS and Idol Producer and Produce Camp boy groups including Nine Percent, NEX7, UNINE, R1SE, INTO1, THE9, Rocket Girls and Oner.


Traditional Chinese 華語流行音樂
Simplified Chinese 华语流行音乐

Instruments and setups

Shidaiqu originated as a fusion of Chinese traditional music and European popular music, and therefore instruments from both genres were used from the very beginning of Mandopop. Songs performed in the traditional style employed traditional Chinese instruments like the erhu, pipa, and sanxian, such as in the recording of "The Wandering Songstress" (天涯歌女) by Zhou Xuan, whereas more Western orchestral instruments such as trumpets, violins, and piano were used in songs like "Shanghai Nights" (夜上海), also by Zhou Xuan. Big band and jazz instruments and orchestrations from the swing era were common in the early years. Chinese and Western instruments were also combined in some recordings.

In the 1960s, the electric guitar began to be used. Starting around the 1970s, electronic organs/synthesizers began to be heavily featured, which characterized the Mandopop music of the era. Today's Mandopop arrangements are generally westernized, covering many musical styles, including R&B, hip hop, ballads, and Pop. Mandopop switched from simple imitation to adjusting the melodies and lyrics creatively in short time. Some pop stars became famous because they were presented to meet the Chinese aesthetics standard and culture features. [51] A few Chinese pop musicians—most notably Jay Chou, Lin Jun Jie, David Tao, Leehom Wang —have experimented with fusing traditional Chinese instruments with Western styles (such as hip hop beats and progressive rock) all over again in a new style known as China Wind music (zhongguofeng), influencing many Asian singers worldwide.



Popular music record labels includes independent labels such as JVR Music, Linfair Records, B'In Music and subsidiaries of major labels such as Sony Music Taiwan, Universal Music Taiwan, Warner Music Taiwan. In the past few years, mainland labels such as EE-Media, Huayi Brothers, Taihe Rye Music, Show City Times, Idol Entertainment, and Tian Hao Entertainment have also emerged.

Music distribution outside Asia

Mandopop titles are also available outside of Asia. Chinese communities established in North America have made Mandopop music accessible through local businesses. In the United States, Canada and Australia they are easily found in many major urban areas, such as San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York City, Vancouver, Toronto, Sydney, and Melbourne [ citation needed ].


The Global Chinese Pop Chart is a record chart organised since 2001 by 7 radio stations from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur.

In Taiwan, G-Music Chart (Chinese: 風雲榜 fēngyúnbǎng) is the most popular music ranking. [52] [53] [54] [55] [56] [57] It was first officially published on 7 July 2005, and compiled the top physically sold CD releases in Taiwan (including both albums and physically released singles). Only the top 20 positions are published, and instead of sales, a percentage ranking is listed next to each release.


Mandopop radio stations

StationLocationFrequencies and Platform
Kiss Radio Taiwan Kaohsiung, Taiwan99.9 FM, 99.7 FM, 97.1 FM, 98.3 FM and Internet live streaming
Hit Fm Taipei, Taiwan90.1 FM, 91.5 FM, 101.7 FM and Internet live streaming
CNR Music Radio Nationwide, China90.0 FM (Beijing) and Internet live streaming
Beijing Music Radio Beijing, China97.4 FM and Internet live streaming
Shenzhen Radio Station Shenzhen, China97.1 FM and Internet live streaming
Shanghai Media Group Shanghai, China101.7 FM and Internet live streaming
KAZN Los Angeles, USASometimes
KSFN San Francisco, USA1510 AM
KSJO San Francisco, USA92.3 FM
KSQQ San Francisco, USA96.1 FM
UFM100.3 Singapore100.3 FM and Internet live streaming
YES 933 Singapore93.3 FM and Internet live streaming
883Jia Singapore88.3 FM and Internet live streaming
My MalaysiaFrequencies vary according to location
Radio Cakrawala Jakarta, Indonesia98.3 FM
Radio Strato Surabaya, Indonesia101.9 FM
Radio Manila 99.9 Manila, Philippines99.9 FM Internet live streaming (also available on iTunes Radio)

See also

Related Research Articles

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