Chinese Internet Celebrities Convert 470 Million Fans Into Consumers

By Ouyang Shijia
China Daily, Beijing / Asia News Network

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) China’s internet celebrities are riding their fame to establish new types of businesses of their own, creating a whole new chain surrounding themselves.

China Daily, Beijing / Asia News Network

At 6 am, Yang Xia, 26, is already up and about, complete with attractive makeup, ready to roll for yet another hectic 12-hour work day to turbocharge new-age Chinese brands.

As the day unfolds, Yang, wearing branded fashion, her own creation, would pose in front of the cameras with several famous Macau landmarks for backdrop.

She is not a Chinese film-slash-TV actress, sports superstar, cultural icon or political luminary; yet, she commands a staggering 2.56 million followers on Twitter-like Sina Weibo. Her status makes her a hot property among local brand-endorsing celebrities, a one-woman sales army as it were.

Yang is a shining example of a new, arguably unique, breed of internet celebrities who are rewriting the rules of marketing, branding and e-commerce in China.

Dubbed wanghong (Chinese for internet celebrity), China’s online sensations are influential. They help push products through livestreaming and other forms of digital content that sway millions of mobile-savvy, social media-addicted consumers, spawning a consumer goods market worth billions of dollars.

And this is just the beginning, according to Feng Yousheng, founder and CEO of Chinese livestreaming app Inke.

During the 4th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, earlier this month, he said the coming fifth-generation or 5G mobile technology and new-age tech like augmented reality will help make livestreaming even more powerful.

“In recent years, those born after 1995 have taken a profound fancy to livestreaming,” Feng said.

Feng may have well been referring to data from the China Internet Network Information center, which said the country had 751 million netizens by the end of June-and 96.3 percent of them access the internet through hand-held devices like smartphones.

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