The Chinese drama Story of Yanxi Palace is the most Googled TV show of 2018 globally, despite Google being largely blocked in the country.
The search engine’s analytics suggested that the top interest in the drama has come from Asian regions like Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Hong Kong, but its popularity in mainland China has been overwhelming as well.
The series has been streamed more than 15 billion times on iQiyi, China’s Netflix-like site where the show premiered in July before it reached domestic TV channels and more than 70 markets abroad. It was the most watched online drama in China for 39 consecutive days over the summer.
The 70-episode Story of Yanxi Palace fictionalised the power struggles among the concubines of Emperor Qianlong in the 1700s.
The protagonist, a smart girl with a humble background, manages to rise through the ranks among the harem and wins both love and respect from the emperor.