The term diaosi originated as an insult for a poor, unattractive young person who stayed at home all day playing video games, with dim prospects for the future -- in other words, a loser. Yet as the term went viral on the Internet, Chinese youth from all backgrounds began to embrace it. It has become a self-deprecating counter to the gaofushuai, or the "tall-rich-handsome," those with status, success, and bright futures. The number of people who refer to themselves as diaosi has continued to grow, and it is slowly transforming into a descriptor of the ordinary Chinese citizen who faces everyday struggles and hardships.
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This infographic, created by Sohu Business and translated with permission by Tea Leaf Nation and ChinaFile's David M. Barreda, posits that the time of the sought-after high-end Chinese consumer, drawn to high-end brands and other symbols of status, may be ending. In their place, the diaosi are poised to become the mainstream consumers in China. It also hints at a future turning point: China's underdogs just may become the country's mainstream.
Ever since GDP growth dropped to 7.8 percent in 2012, the Chinese economy hasn't been quite as robust. Affected by the economic environment, China's luxury goods consumption has substantially declined, giving business people a big headache.
At the same time, due to increasing public pressure and anti-corruption efforts, once fashionable brand-name watches also became the downfall of many government officials.
So, if you encounter a no-car, no-home, no-girlfriend, over 20, almost 30-year-old media worker or programmer, make no mistake -- he is a so-called diaosi.
Different incomes affect the degree of diaosi self-identification.
This post also appears at Tea Leaf Nation, an Atlantic partner site.