China's Internet pop sensation the Chopsticks Brothers, whose viral hit Little Apple has been viewed more than 1 billion times on China's popular video websites, won the International Song Award at the 2014 American Music Awards on Sunday.
The pop duo, singers Xiao Yang and Wang Taili, also performed the song at the gala. Chinese singer Zhang Jie shared the stage and won the International Artist Award.
"This is the first time that a Chinese pop duo performed at and won an award at an established international music award ceremony. Little Apple is China's Gangnam Style and we will bring it to more international stages,"said Lu Fanxi, deputy director of Youku Tudou.
According to Lu, South Korean girl group Tara has collaborated with Chopsticks Brothers for a remake of the popular song. The song also enabled Chopsticks Brothers to become the first Chinese pop group to release their song on iTunes.
Lu said that a movie titled Little Apple has been planned for next year.
Before Little Apple, the pop duo, which was founded in 2007 by Xiao and Wang, had released an online film, Old Boys, and performed the title song of the same name.
In 2011, they joined video website Youku and released a movie called Father. The title song of the movie, Father, also became a viral hit.
According to Youku, the original intention of releasing Little Apple was to promote the duo's film, Old Boys: The Way of The Dragon, which was produced and released by the video website in July this year, grossing over 100 million yuan (S$21 million).
With easy to follow, repetitive tunes and lyrics, the song instantly became a national phenomenon, playing on cellphone ring tones, at shopping malls and nightclubs.
The song's popularity also could be attributed to China's dama, the retired ladies who gather every morning and evening at parks and public squares to dance.
The song and the pop duo's performance at the 2014 American Music Awards, however, has also stirred controversy among music fans and critics.
According to Cui Renyu, founder of PocketMusic, a Beijing-based indie music label,"the song is stylistically outdated and the lyrics are nonsense. It's just like fast food".
"Unlike Kpop and Jpop, which have international influences, China's pop music has not gained attention worldwide. Some songwriters and singers are eager to create the next Gangnam Style and attract wide attention.
They just copy others' successful ingredients but don't focus on working on their own culture," he said.