Early life and education
She did softcore erotic modeling for METCN.com, an affiliate of MET ART, from 2007 to 2009, and until the Chinese government initiated a crackdown on online erotica at the beginning of 2009, her name was amongst the most searched for queries on the Chinese search engine Baidu, receiving an average of 650,000 searches a day throughout 2008.
The Chinese online game Dàhuà Xuānyuán (Chinese: 大话轩辕) became a hit in December 2009 after the game's producer hired Zhang as its spokesperson, a marketing maneuver that received official disapproval in 2010 as the Chinese government sought to curb the use of "vulgar marketing" by online game companies.
- "China's first nude model", Zhang Xiaoyu endorses "Dahua Xuanyuan" news.duowan.com (Chinese) 4 December 2009
- Thomas, Neil (12 August 2013). "The branded sex toy business - Zhang Xiaoyu". Danwei.
- Zhang Xiaoyu top-ranked human photo search hinews.cn (Chinese) 15 October 2010
- Besta Shankar China prohibits indecent promotion of online games Archived March 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine International Business Times 8 July 2010
- Zhang Xiaoyu's blog (Chinese)