True North looks East with YouTube ‘Icons’

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A video production firm has produced the first professional China-focused YouTube channel, offering an inside view of the country.

True North, based in Leeds, was commissioned by Beijing-based China Intercontinental Communication Center (CICC) to produce China Icons.

The videos offer a glimpse into the country’s culture, society, industry and arts, inviting viewers to ‘meet China Icons, yesterday, today and tomorrow’.

The channel launched with 12 individual video stories, including an exclusive interview with US NBA star Yao Ming, rare footage of Giant Panda cubs in the wild and behind the scenes with Chinese astronauts, or ‘taikonauts’.

Diary-style videos will be part of the channel, following foreign people living in China, exploring their relationship to its culture and heritage. New content will be uploaded weekly.

In addition to producing original content for the channel, True North will curate existing material on the site.

The CICC not only wants to provide a window into the country for foreign viewers, but also gain insight from their reactions to the channel.

User comments and interaction is encouraged throughout the channel, in order to understand more about ‘international audiences’ perceptions and tastes’.

Liz McLeod, who was responsible for the project as True North’s executive producer, said the channel is “an intriguing new move” for the companies.

She said: “The great thing about YouTube is we can respond really quickly to what our audience likes and wants to see more of and we expect to see China Icons evolving and growing over the coming years.”

Wang Yuan Yuan at CICC added: “In the future we hope to evolve China Icons into a suite of channels, each one focussing on a particular special interest.”