Currently I am developing new IQBar courses for a range of Breadies.  One of the most common questions I find myself asking is what examples of people I should use that are relevant in China and that will make the lessons engaging.  There can sometimes be a perception of Chinese teenagers being somehow different to those in the West.  However, from my experience of working with plenty of them in the past and from the lessons I have seen here at IQBar there are lots of commonalities. Chinese teenagers are not really that different at all, they like music, movies, video games just like the teens in the western world.  However, what they might have access to could be different.

So, I set myself a fun task of looking at what is currently in the various Chinese charts now and therefore what examples are likely to resonate with our Breadies. 


The music that appears in the current Chinese Shazam top 10 lists (as of 10th January 2020) isn’t hugely different to what is in the UK charts.  There are big hits in there from some big names like Maroon 5 and Justin Bieber. 

  1. Dance Monkey by Tones and I
  2. Memories by Maroon 5
  3. Ride It by Regard
  4. Yummy by Justin Bieber
  5. Everything I wanted by Billie Eilish
  6. Senorita by Shawn Mendes
  7. Don’t Start Now by Dua Lipa
  8. Falling by Trevor Daniel
  9. Blinding Lights by The Weeknd
  10. Circles by Post Malone


For movies I looked at the top movies of 2019 list and it features a lot of easily recognised names.  The top grossing movie of 2019 was a Chinese animated movie called ‘Ne Zha’ about a boy born with powers that allow him to fight demons. 

However, also in the top movie lists of 2019 are a lot of movies that are also popular here including:

  • Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw
  • Spiderman: Far from Home
  • Bumblebee (Transformers)
  • Captain Marvel
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  • The Lion King
  • Spirited Away
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • Aladdin
  • Maleficent
  • Terminator: Dark Fate
  • Dark Phoenix
  • Men in Black: International
  • Toy Story 4
  • Aquaman
  • Dumbo

Obviously, not all of these will be suitable for very young Breadies! However, it seems that Disney and Marvel references should be easily picked up on in our lessons! 


The Chinese children’s book market is currently booming.  Urban-dwelling parents in particular seem to want their children to gain a global outlook and recognise the importance of global literature.   In China, translated series sell very well.  The Geronimo Stilton series does incredibly well with younger children, as do some English classics like Charlotte’s Web.  Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings still prove to be very popular with the Chinese market, so a Harry Potter reference or two will go down very well!

Video Games

The video game industry in China is enormous.  They are one of the major markets in the global industry and over half a billion people play video games there.  It is described as the “Games Industry Capital of the World” and is home to some of the largest video game companies.  The esports industry in China has grown rapidly and continues to do so, especially with the emergence of live streaming platforms such as Huya and Douya.  Gaming in China is so popular amongst the Chinese youth that the government currently have a curfew meaning that under 18s cannot play after 10pm. 

Popular games in China are Fantasy Westward Journey, Crossfire, Monster Hunter, Dota 2, League of Legends, Total War, Football Manager.

Chinese teenagers work hard in school, some can have a lot of pressure from parents to get the highest grades.  The infamous GaoKao exam obviously can take up a lot of their mental energy and time.  However, they also have a lot in common with teenagers from the West. From what I have found in the Chinese charts, it seems it shouldn’t be that difficult to add in examples to our lessons that will be meaningful to them.