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Winston Frederick Sterzel[1] (born 17 August 1980)[2] better known by his YouTube pseudonym SerpentZA (from Snake King and the country code of South Africa which is ZA), is a South African vlogger and video producer in Shenzhen in the Guangdong province of China.[3] Known for covering a variety of topics related to life in China from a Westerner's perspective, Winston is the first ever English-language vlogger on YouTube from within Mainland China (he began in 2007 when the website was not blocked in China).[4]

Winston Sterzel
Picture of Winston Sterzel, also known as SerpentZA in Shenzhen.jpg
Sterzel in Shenzhen, July 2017
Personal information
Born (1980-08-17) August 17, 1980 (age 37)
Cape Town, South Africa
Nationality South African
Residence Shenzhen, China
Occupation YouTuber
Spouse(s) Sasha Hu (m. 2016)
YouTube information
Genre China Vlogs
Subscribers 323,475
Total views 51,333,710
Associated acts
Catchphrase(s) Stay Awesome!
Variations of "Bunch of nonsense"
Subscriber and view counts updated as of February 27, 2018 (2018-02-27).



Winston was born in Cape Town, South Africa. His maternal grandparents are from England, while his paternal grandparents are from Germany. [5][6] Winston remained in Johannesburg until February 2006, when he liquidated his assets for approx. 50,000 Rand and left for Shenzhen, where he has lived since moving to China.[5] He trained medical personnel in English on a yearly contract basis. Sterzel started to make videos on YouTube in 2008 with a focus on motorcycle repairs. He started his China Vlogs in 2009, with the first videos specifically about Mainland China, regarding scams in Shanghai in December 2009. Sterzel also shares a YouTube channel called ADVChina with his friend Matthew Tye, who is known as laowhy86 and C-Milk on YouTube. Winston and Matthew also have their own custom motorcycle business called Churchill Custom Motorcycles.[7][8] Sterzel was married to a woman from Hong Kong, who featured as beer girl in his YouTube videos, but was divorced in 2013.[9] He has been married to a woman named Sasha Hu from Southern China since 25 May 2016.[10] He lives in Shenzhen.[11]


Sterzel has starred in and helped produce two television travel documentaries, the first of which "Conquering Southern China" currently holds a 9.2 on IMDB [12] and is available for on-demand streaming on Vimeo[13] as well as Amazon Video. The second documentary "Conquering Northern China" was successfully crowdfunded to the total of £54,953 with a total of 2,112 backers on April 25, 2017, and principal shooting has been completed in July 2017.[14] The show was released on December 6, 2017 [15] In 2016, Sterzel resigned his previous job as an English teacher for doctors and started to solely rely on making videos for income which he also receives from supporters on Patreon.[16] [17]


Criticism from Chinese citizensEdit

Since 2017, SerpentZA and ADVChina's videos draw many criticisms from the Chinese Internet community, which accuse him of using sensational video titles and thumbnail pictures that objectify Chinese women and generalize Chinese people negatively as clickbait. The critics argue that the change of his video style is intended to attract more views.[18]

China Global TimesEdit

In May 2016, China's Global Times newspaper commented in an article about Sterzel's video China, How it is - Are Chinese girls easy. The article criticized Sterzel for generalizing Chinese women and the video being borderline-racist.[19]


  1. ^ "Specialist-BETTER INFORMATION CONSULTING COMPANY". Retrieved 21 July 2017. 
  2. ^ "SerpentZA". Retrieved 21 July 2017. 
  3. ^ "Winston Sterzel (@serpentza) - Twitter". Retrieved 21 July 2017. 
  4. ^ "PRD People: English Teacher Winston Sterzel | The Nanfang". The Nanfang. 2014-06-05. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  5. ^ a b serpentza (10 February 2017). "Expat, Sexpat, RACIST, Loser!". Retrieved 21 July 2017 – via YouTube. 
  6. ^ serpentza (21 May 2013). "British? South African? What's the deal?". Retrieved 21 July 2017 – via YouTube. 
  7. ^ "Security Check Required". Retrieved 21 July 2017. 
  8. ^ "3 Expats and A Two-Wheeled bike Dream - Custom Start-Up". 4 January 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2017. 
  9. ^ What happened to Beer Girl?, 21 October 2015
  10. ^ My Chinese Wife is a Doctor, How Did we Meet?, YouTube, 15 March 2017
  11. ^ British YouTuber helps foreigners settle in China, Shenzhen Daily, 9 October 2017
  12. ^ "Conquering Southern China (2016)". Retrieved 21 July 2017. 
  13. ^ Globetrotting Halesowen filmmaker tackled South China's roads for series,, 9 September 2016
  14. ^ "Conquering Northern China -- Adventure/Travel Series". Kickstarter. Retrieved 21 July 2017. 
  15. ^ "Watch Conquering Northern China Online". Vimeo. Retrieved 11 December 2017. 
  16. ^ "I'm QUITTING my job! - YouTube". Retrieved 2017-07-04. 
  17. ^ SerpentZA,
  18. ^ "如何看待youtube上的外国人serpentZA? - 知乎". (in Chinese). Retrieved 2017-07-04. 
  19. ^ Times, Global. "Why Westerners think Chinese girls are 'easy' - Global Times". Retrieved 2017-07-04. 

External linksEdit