Who the hell is Ayi Jihu?

Ayi Jihu - Chinese 'superstar' and PR hoax

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Global superstar or massive PR hoax?

Readers of this website will know that we love a good story. A few weeks back, we came across a massive double page spread in an English language publication (we think it was one of the expat rags here in Shanghai – if anyone can point out the article, we would be super grateful. UPDATE: it was Urbanatomy, article HERE).

The article featured a slightly slutty, pretty brazen set of photos and some accompanying text claiming that a girl of Yi origin (the Yi are an ethic minority group hailing from South Western China numbering around 8m) had been dubbed “the Chinese Madonna” by the British press. Ayi Jihu had had over 100 million downloads in China, and that she in danger of becoming the first Chinese musician to truly break the Western music market.

The Chinese Madonna, Ayi Jihu

Wow, a big deal, we thought.

So, we asked around the office. Who was this sensation? Why hadn’t we heard of her? We are a music company based in China with over 20 Chinese staff in our offices. Were we not doing our jobs?

The result of our informal poll? Not a single person had ever heard of this R&B “star” who has broken all kinds of records here in China.

And so we did some digging. What came up? Well, mostly nothing at all.

She was signed to the “famous” Shlepp Records in 2007, but when a netizen went to the official website (before it was shut down), they found that the record label had only one artist: Ayi Jihu. Now of course, the website is shut down.

In September 2010 her PR company, Quite Great Communications, issued a press release stating that she was returning home to Cambridge to present her parents with a gold disc for the 100th million mobile phone download of her songs.

Ayi Jihu with her gold disc

But in an interview with a reporter, she didn’t answer the question of where the gold disc came from. And when we tried to find some (illegal – sorry, but every famous song/ artist is available via this route) MP3 downloads of her songs using the infamous Baidu MP3 search engine, the result was ZERO songs found.

The BBC, Sky News, the Daily Mail, the Sun and other such luminaries have all written that Ayi Jihu has become one of China’s biggest new stars, routinely topping lists of sexiest Chinese women and her music has become phenomenally popular in the lucrative mobile phone download market with young people in China.

When we searched her info on the Baidu search engine (which has 70% of the search market in China) using key words ”Ayi Jihu” (2200 results) or “吉胡阿依” (3790 results), most reports/articles linked to look identical.

Compare this with Jin Sha 金莎, one of China’s biggest current emerging stars, for whom we get 18,300,000 results on Baidu.

Here is her live video at Macao Cubic which has yielded a “staggering” 1,400 video views

and an interview with BBC China

Our researchers conclusion: It seems that she is only famous for her sexy image on stage? and all of her videos on Chinese video websites are uploaded by her PR company.

Our conclusion: a cynical attempt by a PR company and record executives to try and fool the Western market into believing that this feel good story is actually a true one (and in the process make lots of money out of it). Watch the BBC video and it seems that she is pretty complicit in the scam.

It seems sort of pre-internet era thinking that this story could get serious legs without any kind of basis in reality.

  • PolySolutionist

    Oh BTW, that’s one crafty lil’ ploy about Ayi Being the “Goodwill Ambassador” (as well as being the ‘sole’ member of this “foundation”) for “Goodwill Ambassador to A Celebration of Women Foundation Inc.” (which I suspect you created as the layout is ‘very’ similar to your other sites, as well as adding a .org in its address to make it seem legit) which is essentially an online forum ‘about’ other important/influential/successful women, which does ‘nothing’ but follow/repost other charitable womens cause/actions/post. And it also happens to take ‘donations’, adding to the ‘impression/illusion’ (though by not stating such you’re not breaking the law!) that this is some kind of charity/NPO for those countless gullibles out there. Nice lil’ PR stunt, as well as a money spinner… Though if this ‘is’ the case I vehemently disapprove!

  • AW

    I admire her for her strong ambitions but as a Chinese person, I have to say that her name is about as recognized as any normal citizen’s would in China. 100 million records? Really? I mean, that’s just pushing it. If you have ever seen her videos, you would know that they are extremely poor in quality and even comparable to the stuff people at my school which students make for film class. Many of her videos on youtube have views in the hundreds or tens margin. I really don’t mean to bash on her because she came to my school to give a speech and not only was she really inspiring, she was also one of the most down of earth person I have ever met. However, I just felt absolutely horrible that all that inspiration she gave about going from a small town girl to a mega super star is nothing but a lie (and you’d have to be nuts if you believer her success). It is simply dishonest. 

    Note to her manager: I am really sorry, but you are not doing her justice. All this dishonesty may be getting her attention but is also taking away all the respect. And really, why on earth would a record label manager be arguing against anonymous comments on a blog?  And btw, just because one person says that she gives off the vibe of Madonna in Chinese form, it does not suddenly dub her ‘The Chinese Madonna’. In addition, she is not the “international #1” of anything. I mean wake up, I can name like at least 100 Asian artists that can easily hold massive concerts in Europe and North America. Seriously, do things right. 

  • Anonymous

    she came and lectured at your school?  was that in China or abroad? 

    yeah, I’m sure she is a nice girl – her manager isn’t representing her brilliantly, that’s for sure

  • AW

    I live in Canada. She came here to talk about her upcoming movie, her over exaggerated success, and her upbringing. If not for the fact that I googled her to find nothing, she was quite an awesome person. I think she came because of the A Celebration of Women thing. 

  • blahblah08

    After all of this, who exactly is Ayi Jihu?

    This could be interesting for others who are equally curious: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/try-me/id301376386

    One 5* review by a supposed “non-fan” by your one and only Steve Eagle E


    Customer Reviews

    Could be a groundbreaking album


    Stevie Eagle E

    I was not expecting much when someone turned me onto Ayi Jihu, but
    man was I surprised. This is a cool album, you have to listen to the
    lyrics as they are not in your face and can go right by you. For a
    Chinese girl this is quite amazing. I’ve seen her videos too and to be
    honest i am no a fan, she is one amazing girl. Still find it hard to
    believe she is real Chinese through and through as they just can’t do
    this stuff, can they?


    What a joke. But hey, this whole “scam” got people talking so they’ll have the last laugh. Publicity, but unfortunately in all the wrong ways. Good luck

  • blahblah08

    This honestly made my year. Some shady record label producer trolling forums using different usernames to plug in this “non-artist”.

    It’s been a few years now since this post came up, and I got into this while looking up on Scouse Barry Cox (doing well in the HK circuit, tongue in cheek type character) but I wouldn’t say he’s full on celebrity status. Anyway, apparently he’s done a single with Ayi “Schlep All-Stars”

    Who needs comedy when all this shit is kicking off real life.

  • blahblah08

    Wtf is Fear Chaser? Has anyone seen them in China yet?

    Judging from their website, Chinatown more like. Back to Cambridge it is.

  • seaglefly

    Lol blahblah08 such a purile ignorant comment from an obvious hater.

    This whole disscussion is not so much about whether Ayi Jihu is or is not as she most obviously is.

    It’s really about who likes or does not like her or what she does. And i’m sure she does not really care too much about all that as she goes forward, as for every one person that hates like mr/miss blahblah08 there are thousands that love.

    Good odds if you ask me.

    It’s hard to believe in this day and age that there are still people who feel and think that if they don’t know something it does not exsist!

    One can only understand and admire more the trailblazers of the past who said the world is not flat, it’s round, or yes we can fly etc, because surely they would have had more ignorant, sad, afraid little fools on their case than Ayi Jihu does today.

    Keep hating, she keeps moving forward!

  • seaglefly

    On what grounds do you call Stevie Eagle E Shady?  And exactly who the hell are you?

  • seaglefly

    I think you need to ask yourself, what is imagined and what is real?  The facts remain that You nor anyone else has seen or know every artist out there and because you have not seen them or know of them, does not negate the fact that they do what they do?  

    Ayi Jihu is not to be blamed for any hype or pr, she is just doing what she does and if she was not doing something right you would not be talking.  Good or bad.

  • seaglefly

    Well rounded reply.  For quite a while I have not been on this page simply because in many ways it is a mute point.  Does it really matter what anyone says here?  Nope, because Ayi will continue to do what she does and go forward.  Also all news is good news, even if its bad.  Consider the wedding of Kim Kard….  70 million paid, all the hype and whoops divorce a few months later.  I do not see anyone rushing to return any money or apologise and whatever anyone thinks, setup or hype.  It’s done and has had the effect.

    The funny thing is that sometimes I feel like Oliver Twist asking for more.  MORE!!!!!!! how dare a lil label like Shlepp play the big boys at there own game and succeed.  It seems even the little guy is so conditioned that they only want to except PR and Marketing prowess from the likes of Simon Cowell and Col.  Ohh No, we can’t have people like Stevie Eagle E doing it!  Lol you guys make me laugh. 

    The bitterness and hate and wrong information that some spit out at Ayi and Shlepp on this page is worse than they hype that you seem to hate.  Lets look at some of the facts just for the sake of it and examine some of the points made by WZ (some of which are very good and very true)

    1.Why all the fuss over a nobody? (i will leave it at that)
    2.Ayi does not control the press, in fact neither does Quite Great PR or Shlepp, As we have seen with Rupert Murdoch, The Hillsborough disaster and not to mention WMD’s They get it wrong and sometimes they get it right.  These are things to get upset about, Ayi, do your homework, like or don’t like her music, she has been brought to your attention simple as that.  Does it matter how many records she sold if you do not feel her music, her vibe?  Nope not to me.  So it tells me that most people here are not into artists they are into hype!  they follow whatever they feel is big or successful or makes the most noise.  Not none person has come on this discussion and said i don’t care about the hype, Her music sucks or her music is great and that’s what it is all about.  

    You are all being led by the nose either by me or someone else and at the end of the day you just can’t accept that perhaps it was by a little guy because you feel hard done by.  It’s all good when it’s the big guy though because then you can feel good that you like million of others have a safe place to hide in your ignorance.

    3.Worldwide press controlled and manipulated by me, lol, I wish.  The truth of the matter is Hundreds of millions of dollars of Chinese and Western money has been spent trying to get half the press for Chinese artists as Ayi has got.  Spent on Huge Chinese artists making millions in China and Asia so why does Ayi break through and cause all this fuss.  Perhaps people are not seeing that behind all the so called hype is the fact that she has done what she has done, and she is compelling, talented beautiful and has something that is interesting to the worldwide press.  Also perhaps there is more than a grain of truth in all of this.  I am not Dynamo or David Blaine.  Therefore for all the money and hype spent on Major Chinese artist they did not have any traction in the West because like them or hate them, they did not interest the West, musically, socially etc.  Ayi Jihu does and love her or hate her there is nothing you can do about that and that is why we are all having this conversation and that is why people like China Music Radar who are supposed to know everything about what is going on are so pissed at Ayi Jihu.  She is not one of them, not someone they support or even like, so why is she making so much noise….You know what let’s put a stop to that!

    I think the reaction of Chinese Music Radar and other (So called Chinese media people) explains why Chinese acts struggle to crossover.  True Rnb, Hip Hop and has always come outside of the system, it has always developed on it’s own and it has always been knocked by the players in charge.  That is how Hip hop and rap started.  Ayi is not part of the system, she is not part of the way everything is done and has been done for years in China.  She is with Shlepp and is independent and many people just do not like this and will do all they can to discredit and knock it down.

    Hype, nothing wrong with that.  Ali used to say I will knock you out in round 7 talk all kinds off stuff, sometimes he did, sometimes he did not, but you cannot take away from the fact that he used hype and he was still the greatest.  He used it to escape the shackles of his white owners and break away from the corrupt system that controlled boxing.  He played them at their own game and became bigger than them.  These are the people I follow and learn from, not from China Music Radar and the people on this site who do little but talk so much.  At the end of the day time will tell whether it is hype or if it is real, if it is all crap or if it was the start of a good thing.  Not your puerile worlds and hateful banter that has nothing to do with anything really.  If you do not like Ayi Jihu don’t buy her music, watch her videos write about her or even think about her.  There is no reason to treat her like she is the devil incarnate and Shlepp is a shady little group trying to control the minds of the world.  We are not the Illuminati,   They are your problem, control your minds and thoughts, and they do not like like Shlepp or Ayi Jihu because we are not part of them or will ever be.

    4. You mention Ayi can take a stroll down Shanghi and not be mobbed.  So what does that actually mean.  I walked through Manchester with Shim Mina one of Korea’s biggest artist at the time (another Shlepp artists)  We went to see Man U play.  No one mobbed her or even knew her.  At the game no problem.  But in Korea impossible!  We spoke to park from Man Utd afterwards one of the most famous players in the world (if you count Asia) and he said he can walk anywhere in the Uk and very few people even know who he is.  So let me ask you something, does that make him a fraud, or non existent!?  Does that make everything written about him hype!?  Lets be real here.  The UK has 60 million odd people max.  Where Ayi is from in Sichuan they are 200 Million strong and I guarantee you she would be mobbed there and known and recognized there.  Perhaps not in Shanghai  but would Rhianna be recognized everywhere just walking humbly down the street I think not.

    WZ You say you know China, that’s great because it such a massive place with so many diverse people I have never met anyone yet who knows the whole place so you are a first!  I never treated you like Idiots.  Fame is relative.  Ayi is very famous, the fact that she may not be on the lips of every Chinese person you know does not change that. She is what she is.

    5.  People seem to knock every good thing she does and tries to do.  If she is an ambassador of an organization or helps some charity they try to knock the charity or organization,  Why?  I don’t see many other artist even trying to do what she does especially in the position she is in.  When most artist and fame chaser simply try to do anything and everything stupid to be in front of the media Ayi spends her time trying to help and support people and good causes.  She is not about me, me me, like so many others.  Most artist wait until they are stupidly wealthy and have too much and then start to think about giving back, but Ayi is giving now and has been giving from the beginning.  The response to all of that is some people not want to acknowledge and see this and instead conspire to make it all into a negative.  I think that says much more about them, than Ayi really.

    Most of what I have written will probably not make sense to those reading because they hate or are ignorant.  But one or two of you with any common sense and a bit of savvy will get it and finally figure out the truth of the matter.

    Ayi Jihu is, and is not going to go away and time will tell how far she goes and what she achieves. Then we can all sit back and judge her.  Her music is a matter of personal taste, not a political issue.  Her being, what she is trying to do is not closing doors or hurting people, but opening doors and helping people.  Where there is smoke there is usually fire and it works both ways.  Yes there is Hype and PR with Ayi (it show business aint it?) But there is also a lot of truth and those that hate, dislike or are afraid of Ayi Jihu want you to believe it is all Hype.

    You choose.  I know the deal.

  • blahblah08

    You ask who I am? It wouldn’t matter to you if I’m just a “hater”.

    I ended up here while looking for Barry Cox (who my mate met yesterday, lovely guy apparently), and I just wanted to see how legit he was in the industry. For some reason, this thread really struck a chord.

    From what I see, you seem to be using her Chinese background to exploit people in the West. People being duped to believe she has over “100 million” hits – surely the likes of the Sun and the DM bought all this hoopla. But then again, it is the Sun.

    I’m just saying, being born and bred in Hong Kong and having lived in London for over 6 years (I travel back to HK frequently, and most of my friends are based in HK/SH/BJ/TW), avid music fans have never heard of her. So I’m just questioning dangling this “100 million” hits thing over people. But hey, as some people mentioned before me, this is PR at its best. We’re the one that’s fooled though and people have the right to know.

    She’s actually a very pretty girl and I wish her all the best in the future.

  • blahblah08

    I would consider Stevie Eagle E shady from his own words on this form.

    “In other words, these assholes are competitors to Shlepp/Ayi and will be quite jealous when Fear Chaser takes China by storm.” “Bring it”

    Jealous? Bring it?????!!! Are you kidding me? What is this, high school?

    This is merely a website where people come to to read about music that is CURRENTLY HAPPENING IN CHINA, it has nothing to do with Ayi so I don’t see how competition fits. This guy has no idea about the Chinese market and his effort is laughable. I can’t deny that he probably knows his R&B or whatever it is, but to boldly say he knows the Chinese market is so far fetched.

    Numbers say all, 2 years down he’s still here defending his act. Great to see loyalty, but unfortunately lost all credibility. Due to Stevie’s antics on this thread alone, he could have lost whatever fans him/her/they had.

    p.s. the problem here clearly isn’t Ayi, its her management.

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