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‘Squid Game’ keyword searches are reportedly yielding no results on major e-commerce platforms in China

  • “Squid Game” keyword searches are apparently banned on online platforms in China, a new report says.
  • Products related to the show are found with alternative keywords, such as “squid mask” and “Korea.”
  • “Squid Game” hasn’t been released in China due to the nation’s strict content licensing rules.

“Squid Game” keyword searches on major online shopping platforms in China are yielding no results, the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday.

Major Chinese e-commerce platforms Alibaba, Pinduoduo, and JD.com apparently banned the keyword search for “Squid Game” related products in China, as checked online by the Post. Online toy merchants have devised a workaround for the ban by using alternative keywords such as “squid mask,” “Halloween costume,” and “Korea,”

“We tried other words such as ‘squid mask,’ which worked [to search for our products],” one merchant, solely identified by his surname Zeng, told the Post. “Based on our experience, only ‘Squid Game’ can’t be used to search on these platforms.”

The popular dystopian Korean survival drama, which debuted on

Netflix
in mid-September, follows 456 adults with mounting debt playing children’s games to win 45.6 billion won (about $38 million USD).

Those who are unable to complete the challenges are literally eliminated from the series of games  — killed by either the deadly consequences of the activity or by the mysterious mask-donning workers operating the games.

Since being picked up by Netflix two years ago, and its debut on September 17, “Squid Game” rocketed to international fame, becoming the platform’s top show in more than 90 countries and its most popular show of all time. However, it has not been officially released in China due to the nation’s strict content licensing rules.

Wang Xiaohui, chief content officer at Chinese video streaming platform iQiyi, told local media outlet TMTPost that the Netflix original series is unlikely to be adapted for Chinese audiences because of the show’s “relatively dark subject matter.

“We have our own mainstream values, which are very different from Western countries,” he told TMTPost. “In terms of content production, we must follow ideology and social trends, including the enthusiasm and unity of the Chinese people.”

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