Dr Zizheng Yu

Dr Zizheng Yu BA, MA, PhD

Lecturer in Advertising and Marketing Communications

Dr Zizheng Yu is a lecturer in Advertising and Marketing Communications. Zizheng joined the University of Greenwich in September 2022. Before the appointment at Greenwich, he worked as an associate lecturer in JOMEC, Cardiff University and a MA dissertation supervisor at King's College London. He taught a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate subjects in the fields of advertising, media and communication and digital humanities.

Before entering academia, Zizheng worked for the Country Garden Real Estate in China as a Senior Brand Manager; as a Journalist in Chinese Southern Daily in Foshan, and UK Chinese Journal in London; as a Research Associate in China Current Network. Zizheng is the vice-president of UK-China Media and Cultural Studies Association (UCMeCSA), and also a member of IAMCR, ICA, ECREA and MeCCSA. His previous works can be found mainly in Chinese Journal of Communication, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Media International Australia, and JOMEC Journal.

One of his latest research projects “The emergence of algorithmic solidarity: unveiling mutual aid practices and resistance among Chinese delivery workers” has sparked heated debate both inside and outside the academic circle, and it was reported by WIRED recently: “China’s Gig Workers Are Challenging Their Algorithmic Bosses”.

Responsibilities within the university

Currently, Zizheng is teaching advertising and marketing communications modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He also serves as a dissertation supervisor and personal tutor at the school. Zizheng welcomes PhD candidates with similar research interests.


Professional Memberships:
  • Member of ICA (International Communication Association)
  • PhD Student Representative of IAMCR (International Association for Media and Communication Research)
  • PhD Student Representative of ECREA (European Communication Research and Education Association)
  • Member of MeCCSA (Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association)
  • Vice President of UK-China Media and Cultural Studies Association (UCMeCSA), 2021-2022.
  • Vice President of UK-China Media and Cultural Studies Association (UCMeCSA), 2020-2021.
Academic Activities:
  • Reviewer of the Networking Knowledge (International Peer-review Academic Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network)
  • Reviewer of the Participatory Communication Research Section for IAMCR 2022.
  • Reviewer of the Emerging Scholars Network for IAMCR 2021.
  • Co-chair of UCMeCSA Members Research Forum, 7th March 2021.
  • Convener of UCMeCSA Members Research Forum, 7th Dec 2019.
  • Executive Committee Member of UCMeCSA, 2019-2020.
  • Member of UCMeCSA, 2018-2019.
  • Research Associate, China Current Network (An alternative media that was once influential in China), 2013-2016.

Research / Scholarly interests

Dr Zizheng Yu’s current research focus on consumer activism/nationalism, consumer behaviour and advertising, SMP (e.g., TikTok/Douyin), video activism, and AI/algorithmic resistance.

He is currently involving multiple research projects in consumer activism and consumer nationalism, algorithmic resistance, branding marketing on TikTok/Douyin.

Zizheng’s research is based on the exploration of consumer behaviour, activism and information and communications technology (ICT), but only as a but only as a starting point for further exploring the complex issues regarding the mutual shaping of consumer, media, market, and society.

Media activity

  • Shanghai’s Delivery Drivers — The Unsung Heroes of a Long Pandemic Lockdown. The World. 06, May 2022. https://theworld.org/stories/2022-05-06/shanghai-s-delivery-drivers-unsung-heroes-long-pandemic-lockdown
  • China’s Gig Workers Are Challenging Their Algorithmic Bosses. WIRED. 14, March 2022. https://www.wired.com/story/chinas-gig-workers-challenging-algorithmic-bosses/amp

Recent publications

  • Yu, Z. (2022). Book Review. Farm Fresh Broadband: The Politics of Rural Connectivity. Canadian Journal of Communication.
  • Yu, Z., TrerĂ©, E and Bonini, T. (2022). The Emergence of Algorithmic Solidarity: Unveiling Mutual Aid Practices and Resistance Among Chinese Delivery Workers. Media International Australia. SSCI. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1329878X221074793
  • TrerĂ©, E and Yu, Z (corresponding author). (2021). The Evolution and Power of Online Consumer Activism: Illustrating the Hybrid Dynamics of “Consumer Video Activism” in China through Two Case Studies. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. SSCI. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/08838151.2021.1965143
  • Yu, Z. (2021). An Empirical Study of the Consumer Video Activism in China - Protesting against Businesses with Short Videos. Chinese Journal of Communication. SSCI. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/17544750.2020.1871390
  • Yu, Z. (2021). Book Review: Citizen Media and Practice: Currents, Connections, Challenges. JOMEC Journal, (16), pp.148–153. Doi: http://doi.org/10.18573/jomec.210
  • Ma, X., Wu, M., Yu, Z., & Jiang, C. (2019). An Empirical Study of the Understandings of Chinese Martial Arts Symbols among German University Students. Journal of Martial Arts Research, 2(1), 19. Doi: https://doi.org/10.15495/ojs_25678221_21_106
  • Ma, X. and Yu, Z. (2019). Conference Report: Bruce Lee’s Cultural Legacies. Martial Arts Studies, (8), pp.84–87. Doi: http://doi.org/10.18573/mas.85


  • Yu, Z. (2021). Consumers, Short Videos, and the Growing “Consumer Sphere” in China. pp. 921. Advances in Consumer Research, V.49 (ABS Level 2). Conference Proceedings at: The Association of Consumer Research (ACR) Conference 2021 (Seattle/Online), October 2021.
  • Yu, Z. (2021). The Rise of the “Consumer Sphere” under the New Short Video Activism Strategy of Chinese Consumers. Conference papers at: International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) Conference 2021 (Nairobi/Online), 11th-15th July 2021.
  • Yu, Z. (2020). Counterfeit Goods on PDD: The Emergence of the Consumer Sphere in China. Presented at: 13th CMI Conference: Digital Transformations - Potentials and Challenges, Aalborg University (Denmark/Online), 26th-27th Nov 2020.  
  • Yu, Z. (2020). Douyin (Tiktok) Revolution: Online Short Video Consumer Activism in China. Presented at: The 4th Meeting of Digital Networks and Activist Cultures, PUC-Campinas, (Brazil/Online), 6th-8th Oct 2020.  
  • Yu, Z. (2019). An Empirical Research on Consumer Video Activism and the Emergence of the “Consumer Sphere” in China. Presented at: Infrastructures and Inequalities: Media Industries, Digital Cultures and Politics, University of Helsinki (Finland), 21th-22th Oct 2019.
  • Yu, Z. (2019). Examine the Consumer Video Activism and Consumer Sphere in China. Presented at: UK-China Media and Cultural Studies Association 3rd Biennial Conference, University of Leicester (UK), 16th Jan 2019
Invited Workshops/Symposia:
  • Invited speaker. Presented at: Researching Mobile Apps in China Workshop: Technicity, Culture and the Everyday, discussing “Short Video Activism in China: Protesting against Businesses with Short Videos”, hosted by The University of Sheffield, 30th June 2022.
  • Guest Lecturer. Presented at: Academic Research Symposium, discussing “Where do Research Ideas and Methods Come From”, hosted by Chengdu Sport University, 14th December 2021.
  • Convener and Speaker. UCMeCSA Reading Group (Book: “Shifting Dynamics of Contention in the Digital Age” / Guest Speaker: Prof. Jun Liu from the University of Copenhagen), hosted by UCMeCSA, 29th September 2021.
  • Presenter. Presented at: TikTok and Social Movements, discussing “Protest against businesses with Douyin: an innovative repertoire for Chinese consumers”, hosted by The TikTok Cultures Research Network, 20th September 2021
  • Guest Speaker. Presented at: Research Team Workshop: Resistance Algorithms, discussing “Studying algorithmic resistance through private WeChat groups among Chinese riders of food delivery apps”, hosted by University of Siena and Cardiff University (Online), 13th April 2021.
  • Presenter. Presented at: EASA Media Anthropology Network E-Seminars, discussing John Postill’s paper on “The effects of media practices”, March 2021. Transcript online: https://easaonline.org/downloads/networks/media/66e.pdf
  • Presenter. Presented at: ASIA.LIVE Virtual Workshop: Locating Livestreaming in Asia, hosted by Leiden University (Netherlands/Online), discussing “Consumer Video Activism in China”, 17th Sep 2019.