It's probably something by the clean-cut TFBoys, or from the soundtrack to the local comedy film "Goodbye, Mr. Loser." But for industry insiders and music fans alike, it can be hard to tell exactly what China's top song might be.
That's in part because China has a lot of music charts – 213, according to a government-backed report released last week.
Music video-streaming site Yinyuetai.com would like to be the authoritative voice. This week it said it teamed up with Billboard, the U.S. music-industry magazine that keeps a widely quoted list of top songs and albums in the U.S. and elsewhere. Billboard will include the Chinese firm's weekly Chinese pop-music statistics on its website. The two hope to make Chinese chart-toppers recognizable as Adele and Justin Bieber, who are currently leading Billboard's Hot 100 song list.
"Enough eyes are around the music business of China now and people really need and want to know who is up and who is down," said Jonathan Serbin, Billboard's head of Asia. "In the past few years, China's music industry has developed a critical mass that can support a chart to really track what is happening in the music business."
U.S. pop star Adam Lambert, who will tour Shanghai and Beijing next year, also presented at Monday's press conference in Beijing announcing the move.
By money standards, China's music market is tiny compared with the U.S. Last year, China's digital music revenue stood at $91.4 million, while the U.S. led the list with $3.5 billion, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a music lobby group. As the industry has shifted to online, companies have struggled to get music listeners to pay.
Still, the promise is there. Official statistics show that 478 million people in China listen to music online. "The market is at a inflection point in size from a developing market to a very large music market," said Mr. Serbin.
"Charts can definitely help stimulate music consumption," said Zhang Dou, founder and CEO of Yinyuetai.com. "I see too many fans who cannot find the right place to spend money on their idols."
Yinyuetai.com, or V Chart, has more than 50 million registered users. Its weekly songs chart is generated by fan clicks and posts on its own official site as well as data from microblog platform Sina Weibo, search platform 360.com and QQ music. The Chinese music ranking for Billboard will include both Mandarin and Cantonese songs.
Mr. Zhang said he was amazed by the power Chinese fans before. For example, fans of TFBoys, a trio of teenage crooners, paid 1 yuan each to vote them as Yinyuetai's most popular artists in the site's annual music awards in 2014. The band got about 300,000 votes, he said.
Beijing has moved to help record labels tap the market. This week it ordered the local music-streaming sites to step up censoring of unwanted and unlicensed content. "The government crackdown brings us huge opportunity," said Mr. Serbin. "The hope is as the fight to piracy continues, the legitimate market will continue to grow."