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Shanghai Observed Interview


For my first article, I wanted to interview one of the most famous and funny accounts in Shanghai.

Maybe you know which one I’m talking about? As a western person, you must have heard about him. He posts authentic and funny photos about Shanghai residents. He takes unique pictures of Chinese daily life and sometimes it can be surprising!

I’m talking about @ShanghaiObserved, followed by 114K people on Instagram!
Alex is the owner of the account. A professional skateboarder from Long Island, New York. He arrived in Shanghai in January 2015 to teach skateboarding.

You’re asking yourself where is the link between skate and taking pictures, right?

He is as passionate about skateboarding than about photography.

I wanted to turn this interview in more “digital” way and focus on his Instagram account, his podcasts and his e-commerce website. Alex accepted my tons of questions, and he had the amusing idea to record a podcast while he was answering me. What a great idea ! Stay digital !

About ShanghaiObserved

Alex started his Instagram account in November 2017, because of the IPhone 7 launch. The pictures taken by this IPhone are just incredible.
He was also inspired by Ed Templenton, a big star in the skateboard industry from California who had this daily project photo. He thought it will be a great idea to take this concept to Shanghai.

Instagram and Success Story

He finds all the content on WeChat groups, which is available to use and repost.

He loves using Instagram for the feed and the gallery. But it’s very difficult to be on this platform because the publication rules change all the time. And with his content, he must be more careful. At the slightest mistake, his account can be deleted.

3 posts have become viral on internet :


1/ A video of a man who puts his airpods on the wrong way

  • Reached 2.5 million people
  • 18 thousand likes on Facebook

2/ A bunch of people giving the middle finger meditation western 

  • Reached 5.5 million people
  • 53 thousand likes
  • 40K share

Most successful post on Instagram 42 thousand share 19K likes

3/ A dude farting on KTV box, he added some music and got 10 thousand followers on Facebook alone

  • 92 thousand share
  • Reached 9.2 million people

Others social media

ShanghaiObserved has a big presence on Instagram. Alex has also other social media like Facebook, Youtube where he shares his podcasts and Twitter but he doesn’t like the user experience very much or to write tweets.

His advice is to stay 100% active on each platform that you are on. If you are not as he is on Twitter, it will damage your brand !


Alex launched his T-shirt brand because a big part of the ShanghaiObserved concept is the T-shirt that we see on the streets. People who are visiting Shanghai, can buy a t-shirt and bring it back home to share with their friends and their family. He takes inspirations on the ones he sees on the streets, recreates them and sells them. T-shirts are a simple way for the fans to support the brand. He built all the website by himself and figured out how to do e-commerce.


18 months ago, he started his first podcast “The Big King Podcast” with his friend. He loves this experience and the concept and wanted to start doing podcasts. For him, it’s like a simple conversation with your friend. It’s an opportunity for people to share their stories. It’s something he’s really enjoying and valuing for people too.

It took him 6 months to find a nice way to include his audience and interact with them. He thinks podcast gives to his audience emotions and inspire them to grow.


In the future, Alex will continue to post photos on his Instagram account. He wants to make videos of his interviews and post them on his Youtube channel.  Internet users will enjoy watching people having a conversation !

If you want to learn more about Alex and @ShanghaiObserved. Please click on the podcast to find more informations ! I hope you will enjoy it !

By anaelle.soret

I'm Anaelle Soret, from Réunion Island. I'm 23 years old. I'm studying Digital Marketing & Business in Essca Shanghai.

15 replies on “Shanghai Observed Interview”

Great article ! It’s really an original piece. A pleasure to read and discover what’s behind the accounts we follow and like everyday.

Thank you for this not typical article! I didn’t know Shanghai observed and will follow his Instagram, to see his funny photos! 😀

I follow Shanghai Observed for a few months now and it really reflects the reality ! It’s really a good idea to give us a look at the backstage haha I can’t wait for the YouTube channel

What a great article! I didn’t know this account but I will surely follow it now! I love this guy ability to capture funny moments that can easily become memes on the web!

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