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Meet Zhou Aile, An Aspiring Chinese Social Media Star From Gabon

Zhou Aile, or Paula as she’s known back home in Gabon, first moved to China 13 years ago to study Mandarin. Since then, Zhou, like other ambitious young African expats, has been working hard to make a name for herself as a media personality, especially online where she’s closing in on a quarter of a million followers on Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok.

By day, Zhou works at the main office of the African satellite TV giant StarTimes as a translator and voice-over actor. And in her spare time, she’s either creating short-form Douyin videos or working to break into China’s hyper-competitive TV industry.

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What is The China-Global South Project?


The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalists and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Global South discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.