Taylor Swift to Perform in China at Alibaba Gala amid Hong Kong Protests

Singer Taylor Swift performs on ABC's "Good Morning America" at Rumsey Playfield/SummerStage in Central Park on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Pop superstar Taylor Swift is cozying up to some of China’s biggest power players by agreeing to perform at an Alibaba promotional event for Singles’ Day, the country’s biggest shopping day.

Swift is expected to perform Nov. 10 in Shanghai at an annual live concert event that typically draws international pop stars and celebrities who are eager to lend their fame to help boost the visibility of Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce retailer.

Singles’ Day is China’s equivalent to Black Friday, a nationwide shopping spree that last year generated  $30.2 billion in sales in a 24-hour period, according to Alibaba.

The e-commerce giant, co-founded by Jack Ma, is a major promoter of Single’s Day and has enlisted major stars to help jump start consumer enthusiasm. In past years, celebrities including actresses Nicole Kidman and  Scarlett Johansson, as well as athletes Kobe Bryant and David Beckham have appeared at the annual concert event.

This year, Swift is expected to join a lineup of Asian stars including G.E.M., Lay Zhang, Hua Chenyu, and  Kana Hanazawa.

The American pop singer signed a worldwide recording agreement last year with Universal Music Group. China’s Tencent has reportedly been in talks to acquire a 10 percent stake in UMG, which is owned by Vivendi.

Swift’s albums are immensely popular among Chinese consumers. Chinese sales of her latest album, “Lover,” even outpaced U.S. sales in its first week of release, with one million combined total streams, downloads, and sales.

While the U.S. entertainment industry was once eager to buddy up with China, their close business relationship has come under scrutiny in recent months in the wake of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Hollywood is facing criticism that it censors content in order to please China’s authoritarian Communist Party, which imposes strict controls on which foreign titles can be released locally.

Chinese companies like Alibaba operate in close cooperation with Beijing.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Alibaba was behind a popular digital app titled “Study to Make China Strong,” which feeds users Communist Party propaganda.

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at dng@breitbart.com

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