Chinese online celebrities making foray into short video domain for survival

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Apr. 8 (NBD) -- China's web celebrities are escaping from live streaming platforms, beginning to set foot in the e-commerce and short video fields.

Emerging in 2014 and 2015, China's live streaming sector had witnessed a boom for about three years.

Zhou Huan, a post-1995 generation girl, joined streaming website PandaTV in 2017. As a "host" who chats and plays games with fans, she streamed six to seven hours every day, earning around 700,000-800,000 yuan (104,165.1-119,045.8 U.S. dollars) within half a year.

Despite the considerable income, she finally decided to quit the job at the beginning of this year as being a livestreaming anchor distanced her from the outside world.

On March 30, only three months after her resignation, PandaTV, which was one of the largest streaming website in China, announced its shutdown after operation for 1,286 days.

Hitting the ceiling in user number and being challenged by short video apps, the entire livestreaming sector has begun reshuffling since 2018. Competition between platforms is further intensified and some platforms are seen eliminating staff members and streamers.

As a number of small players ended up collapsing, industry leaders Inke, Douyu and Huya survived and successfully made their way to stock exchanges.

The upheavals of the industry heighten streamers' sense of crisis and impelled them to grope for new income sources.

E-commerce live streaming emerged as a sound choice for those hosts.

By advertising products from online sellers when broadcasting, streamers could share profits with the merchants. Some anchors even create their own popular logo and sell their own commodities.

Short videos are also providing an arena for online celebrities.

Regarded as a new spreading form of Internet contents following texts, pictures and traditional videos, short video apps have gradually become the largest traffic pool of the mobile Internet industry in recent years.

According to QuestMobolie's report on China's mobile Internet for the autumn of 2018, monthly active users of short videos numbered 518 million, which grew far more rapidly than that of the broadcast industry.

In an effort to make a transformation, some live show hosts have started leading their traffic to the new platforms.

In fact, a raft of web celebrities has jumped on the bandwagon to gain a foothold in the two niche markets.

Li Jiaqi, a male beauty blogger who livestreams review of lipsticks on Alibaba's marketplace Taobao, is one of the top stars on short video app Tik Tok, boasting 19.27 million followers.

Dubbed "Taobao's king of lipstick" and "iron-lipped brother", Li conducts tests of 380 lipsticks per day, while most people find their lips hurt after testing three lipsticks in a row.

On March 8 last year, Li broadcasted for five and a half hours on Taobao, receiving 189,300 views and orders worth 3.53 million yuan (525,289.8 U.S. dollars).

However, Li's accomplishment can't be easily copied. A founder of a leading short-video platform revealed that in his company, only 20-30 percent of top celebrities are able to make profits.

 

Email: zhanglingxiao@nbd.com.cn