What are becoming known as “fonts” or the English equivalent of popular catchphrases created through mass-media have become common place across China in recent years. The most recent addition is the Yuan Fang font, (元芳体,Yuán fāng tǐ) which became very popular on the Internet in one night last month; it is said that more than 2.5 million people used this phrase online in one day alone.
The Yuan Fang font popularity comes courtesy of TV series Amazing Detective Di Renjie (《神探狄仁杰》,Shéntàn Dírénjié). The television series, now in its fourth season, is based on detective stories related to Di Renjie, a Tang Dynasty magistrate and statesman. The show has been immensely popular- lauded by critics and viewers alike. The main characters Di and his bodyguard Li Yuanfang continually battle with a villain to create some thrilling TV. Usually, when there is a tough case to solve, Di will discuss with Yuan fang the best course of action- which is where his catchphrase has come from.
Detective Di: Yuan fang, what do you think about it?
Dí Rénjié: Yuán fāng, cǐ shì nǐ zěnme kàn?
Yuan fang: Your honor, I think this matter is very weird.
Yuán fāng: Dàrén, cǐ shì yǒu qīqiāo.
There will be a big secret behind this matter.
Cǐ shì bèihòu yīdìng yǒu yīgè tiān dà de mìmì.
Some Chinese bloggers have even converted it into other languages:
French：Comment voyez-vous les Fang Yuan
Russian：Как вы видитеYuan Fang
German：Wie sehen Sie die Yuan Fang
Hundreds of microbloggers have imitated this style, using it as a platform to ask for opinions.
The CTO of SOHO, Wang Xiaochuan: “Yuan fang, what do you think about the popularity of Gangnam Style?
Sōuhú CTO Wáng xiǎochuān: “Yuán fāng, jìnrì de ‘jiāngnán style’ zǒuhóng nǐ zěnme kàn?”
Jesse__Lam：To take part in the exam or not,~ Yuan fang, what do you think about it?
Dàodǐ yào bùyào qù kǎoshì yā〜yuán fāng, nǐ zěnme kàn?