Apparently you can have too much of a good thing.
The parents of Karry Wang, a member of the Chinese pop sensation TFBoys, tried to capitalize on their 19-year-old son’s fame by opening a bubble tea shop earlier this month.
But they were forced to close it just three days later after fans mobbed the tiny store in Wang’s hometown of Chongqing.
Reports said that more than 1,000 fans—mostly young girls—had lined up outside the store, Chaforu, on opening day. Some had to wait up to four hours to get a drink.
Photos of the boba—and the ridiculous lines—went viral on social media. Before long, fans were queuing at the store as early as 5 a.m.
(Read more: Who invented bubble tea?)
“I arrived at the shop at 7:30 a.m.,” one fan was quoted as saying. “After a long wait, I finally got my milk tea at 11:30 a.m. I even had a chance to chat with everyone’s ‘mother-in-law,’” referring to Wang’s mother.
But Wang’s parents were not prepared for the overnight success.
Three days after opening the store, they announced on Weibo, China’s Twitter, that they would be closing it temporarily.
They did not provide a reason, only thanking fans for their support.
But another post on Weibo suggested the shop had to close because its staff had been overwhelmed and that its equipment had broken down.
The store recently reopened and business is still booming—so much so that Wang himself doesn’t even visit anymore.
Late last week, he was seen loitering outside the shop wearing a black mask. He had sent an assistant in to get his favorite drink to avoid causing chaos inside.
Chaforu’s success is just the latest example of hype over homegrown pop stars like the TFBoys, who command a devoted following in the world’s largest market.
The group debuted in 2013 and quickly became superstars. By 2016, Wang was said to be one of the country’s wealthiest young performers, while fellow member Jackson Yee has amassed more than 70 million Weibo followers, more than the population of England.
Together, the TFBoys are said to be worth $4 billion.
Adapted from an article first published in the South China Morning Post.