herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

China's Justin Bieber living the high life in Ireland

Reality TV

Actress Shang Lanxin
Actress Shang Lanxin
Pictured is China's answer to Justin Beiber Mr Zhang Wei

China's answer to Justin Bieber, Wei Zhang, has said he's loving immersing himself in Irish culture.

The pop star has spent the last few days filming Chinese reality show Exploration of the World with eight other celebrities.

They have been learning how to fly small aircraft, play Gaelic football, hurling and handball as well as Irish music and dance.

Wei (31) sprained his ankle shortly after arriving in Ireland and so while he couldn't hit a sliotar with his counterparts, he said he loved the flying lessons.

"I hurt my leg, it feels fine but I couldn't do the sports unfortunately. I feel like Ireland is a kind of cool place," he told the Herald.

Fun

"But this is really fun, the flying challenge has been brilliant.

"I have 10 albums, I've been performing since I was 15," he added.

"By being a part of this show I can experience other things that average tourists don't get to do - the culture, the different challenge and the adventures. We're going to Japan next and I can't wait."

The producer of the show, Mandy Zhang, revealed she chose Ireland to be one of the 12 locations featured on the show after a meeting with Irish tourism chiefs.

"This all started when I was speaking to a representative from Tourism Ireland over afternoon tea in China," she explained.

Viewers

The show will air in June and Mandy says it will be watched by 230 million Chinese people on television but it has a reach of 500m including online viewers.

"I believe that out of all the countries we've ever been to this will make a very huge impression on the Chinese audience as most of them don't know anything about Ireland," she said.

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