The viral Peppa Pig video that has touched hearts across China

A viral trailer for an upcoming Peppa Pig film has sparked discussion in China, almost a year after the character was banned for being a "gangster".

It has been almost a year since Peppa Pig was blocked on a Chinese streaming platform after developing a "gangster" reputation - but now, the character has returned to China and is starting an unlikely conversation. 

A five-minute video promoting the new Peppa Pig feature film, which will be released in China in time for the festivities marking the Year of the Pig, has captured the hearts of audiences around the world.

[[{"fid":"1634317","view_mode":"body_content","uuid":"d2840510-2777-4941-acb7-6554dad8d0e6","type":"media","attributes":{"height":"394","width":"700","alt":"A trailer for an upcoming Peppa Pig film has gone viral in China - despite the footage having nothing to do with the film. ","title":"A trailer for an upcoming Peppa Pig film has gone viral in China - despite the footage having nothing to do with the film. ","class":"media-element file-body-content"}}]]The trailer titled What is Peppa? features a Chinese grandfather from a rural village, desperate to get his grandson the present he wants for Chinese New Year. 

When asked what he wants, the boy - who lives in the city - replies: "Peppa". 

The grandfather then begins on a touching quest to discover what "Peppa" is, hindered by an inability to access the internet.

Strangely, the footage in the trailer has nothing to do with the content of the upcoming film - but it still gathered hundreds of millions of views across various streaming platforms.

According to producer Yan Lu, from Alibaba Pictures, the trailer was meant to comment on China's rapid urban development.

“It hits the heart strings. China has modernised so fast and these old people have been left behind technologically and by cultural trends, but the love is still here,” said Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group in Shanghai, speaking to the Financial Times.

The trailer was so popular that shortly after it was released, trailer-specific merchandise became available.

Peppa Pig was banned by Chinese state media from Douyin, one of China's largest streaming platforms, after the character became a symbol of rebellion.

Although aimed at preschoolers, the “cheeky little piggy” developed a huge adult fan base after being associated with “people of society” – a slang term for gangster in China. The British cartoon had been incredibly popular in China since it first aired in 2015. 

The feature film Peppa Celebrates Chinese New Year is set to be released in China next week on February 5.

In a return to China, Peppa Celebrates Chinese New Year will be released on February 5.
Source: Alibaba Pictures

“The Peppa Pig series emphasises the importance of family values, and that is something that will deeply resonate with Chinese audiences. We hope this family film will pave the way for further development of films for young audiences in China,” Alibaba Pictures president Wei Zhang said.

The film will feature activities from traditional Chinese culture, including dragon-dancing and dumpling-wrapping. 

Published 28 January 2019 at 7:34am, updated 28 January 2019 at 7:58am
By Maani Truu