UK
03/03/2015 13:52 GMT | Updated 03/03/2015 13:59 GMT

Duang Is The Mysterious New Symbol That's Gone Viral In China

A mysterious Chinese character is being shared millions of times online – despite the fact nobody quite knows what it means.

The symbol, known as “duang” has announced its presence more than eight million times on China’s leading microblogging site Sina Weibo in just a week, the BBC writes.

It adds the word appears to be an example of onomatopoeia, a word which phonetically imitates a sound.

duang

To duang or not to duang

Boasting a popularity akin to the pointless yet fiercely viral debate about the white-gold/ blue-black dress, duang has reportedly been looked up almost 600,000 times on China’s biggest online search engine Baidu and has created a hashtag sparking 312,000 discussions among 15,000 users.

The Straits Times writes that some claim the word is a combination of actor Jackie Chan’s Chinese name “cheng” and the word “long” and was inspired by an appearance by the star in a shampoo advert in 2004.

jackie chan funny

Jackie Chan is 'so duang today!'

Sporting a head of luxuriant tresses, Chan is quoted as saying: “Initially I didn’t want to shoot this advertisement… after filming, visual effects are added, the hair – duang! Becomes black and shiny.”

A decade on, Chan hasn't clarified the matter but he's run with it, announcing on twitter: “So ‘duang’ today!”

The Nanfang writes: "A video was made that repurposed Chan’s words in the commercial to mean things he never said, all while emphasizing Chan’s use of “duang” to signify a sound effect used to present something in a positive light. It’s similar to the “sproing” sound a cartoon character makes from appearing so suddenly that he is still reverberating in place like a spring."

Still confused? Us too.

Will “duang”, like Kim Kardashian’s oil-slicked buttocks “break the internet” as some are predicting, or is it simply a case of what Foreign Policy magazine has termed “collective winter boredom”?