“Shanghai ladies” and “labourer” feature in Baidu’s top 10 2020 buzzwords

Baidu released its top 10 buzzwords of 2020 today (December 2). Buzzwords reveal a lot about subcultures and youth trends in China and are important to understand when marketing to China.

Below are some of the buzzwords that topped Baidu’s list:

上海名媛 (Shànghǎi míngyuàn) or “Shanghai ladies” represents women who pretend that they are rich for attention. They try to spend the minimum amount of money to make it seem as if they are living a luxury lifestyle. Shanghai ladies take pictures of themselves enjoying expensive luxury products, hotels and foods in order to give off an image of having a high “social status” on social media. There are WeChat groups to organise the high-profile stunts of Shanghai ladies, such as splitting the cost of a meal at an expensive restaurant and sharing luxury clothing.

打工人 (dǎ gōng rén), the term “labourer” has become the latest buzzword on Weibo and other social media platforms to describe any worker (both white-collar and blue-collar workers) who are swamped by work and often have to stay at the office late.

一起爬山吗 (yīqǐ páshān ma) means “would you like to go climbing with me?” The term originated from the online TV series The Bad Kids 隐秘的角落. The main character Zhang Dongsheng decides to push his in-laws off a cliff after becoming fed up with their constant moaning and unpleasantries. Following on from the show, “would you like to go climbing with me?” has become a jokey way to threaten your friends. For example, if a friend says something to annoy you, you may reply with “would you like to go climbing with me?”.

集美 jí měi which means best friends but has been picked up by young people because it sounds “cuter” than 姐妹 jiě mèi which means friend or sister.


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