Chinese Series in Thailand: Their Influences on Thai Culture

Cooperation between Thailand and China is based on their respective strategic location; Thailand receives the third-highest trade volume from China among all ASEAN countries, and China is Thailand’s biggest trading partner. However, the exchange and interaction are not restricted to trade; Thailand and China have engaged in television and film exchanges for a long time.

Why Thailand is important for Chinese series

Thailand houses the majority of the overseas Chinese population, who make up 7% of the total population of Thailand. Therefore, Thailand is an important overseas market for films and series for China, and almost all their products are welcomed and appreciated in Thailand. Chinese films and series have entered Thailand in massive numbers and have constantly maintained high ratings. These include Legend of the Sword and Fairy, Returning Pearls, Shanghai Beach, and others. Hit Thai series like Three Lives III Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms and Returning Pearls and Gege are Thai remakes of Chinese series.

Chinese series and the influence on Thailand

Four literary masterpieces from China, “Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” “Water Margin,” “A Dream of Red Mansions,” and “Journey to the West” were adapted for TV in the 1990s and introduced in Thailand, where it received an enthusiastic response. “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” is so influential in Thailand that some chapters of the Thai version of the series were selected as textbooks in primary school. The Thai audience could appreciate the series because they are familiar with the story, key plots, characters, the excellent cast, and the series staying faithful to the original. The TV adaptation of “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” is so popular in Thailand that the educational television channel broadcasts TV columns for the series, inviting experts from social and commercial sectors to interact with the audience. “Three Kingdoms” is also used in political analyses in Thailand. The Thai National Television rebroadcast the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” made in 1994 during the prime time of weekdays for the people of Thailand to enjoy classic series.

Chinese costume series, where the actors wear costumes appropriate for the time the story is set, is top-rated in Thailand, especially series in the martial arts drama genre. Last Waves Push Forward Waves produced in Mainland China is the most competitive series in the Thai market. These “costume dramas,” as they are called, helped popularise novels in Thailand and given the Thais an insight into Chinese martial arts. These costume series are also famous for their twists and turns.

Costume legendary fantasy series is another favorite genre of the Thais. The release of Flower Thousand Bones promoted the sales of the novel it is based on. Fairy tales from China have introduced Thai fairy tales. In addition to reading fairy tale books from China, Thai authors even used Chinese names for characters and Chinese structures to create fairy tales, paying tribute to the fairy tale culture. Ancient court dramas attract a large audience in Thailand. A Chinese series, The Legend of Zhen Huan, started a new trend of recreating Thai videos and pictures and remixing Thai dubbing.