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Foreigners compete for influence in China’s booming internet celebrity biz
Published on: 2017-08-10
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070German "A Fu" in live streaming

China's booming internet celebrity business is catching the eyes of more and more foreigners, who hope to grab a piece of fame and fortune in China. Now, foreign internet celebrities have begun to make their debuts on Chinese social media.

With over 600,000 subscribers on YouTube and 3.3 million followers on Instagram, Pony is one of South Korea's most famous beauty gurus. This March she started uploading her cosmetic videos to Youku, one of China's most popular video websites, attracting a large number of Chinese followers. She has since set up her own makeup brand, Pony Effect, to cash in on her influence.

Slivki Show from Ukraine, who has a popular YouTube science channel that has been viewed some 98 million times, started adding Chinese text to videos to gain Chinese audience. And comedians Logan Paul and Jake Paul, who have 8 million followers abroad, started interacting with Chinese fans on Weibo, China's leading social network service.

The above are "mature" celebrities, people who have already made names for themselves on overseas social media and are now gaining popularity with Chinese netizens.

For fresh celebrity foreigners hoping for fame in China, Chinese management companies say some knowledge of Chinese culture as well as a moderate political attitude and basic Chinese language skills are necessary.

Logan Paul's video characterizing Chinese "White Lady" gained a huge amount of likes and viewers, while British adventurer and TV host Bear Grylls gained almost 2 million followers on Sina Weibo by sharing episodes of his show Absolute Wild featuring Chinese celebrities.

According to academic reports, Chinese netizens prefer live streaming of foods and games the most, followed by fashion and funny videos.

Business insiders said professional teams are needed to help foreigner celebrities run their Chinese social media accounts and they are seeking Chinese companies that can help with profile-raising activities.

Thanks to the internet just about anyone can become a celebrity. Analysts say China's internet celebrity industry is expected to hit 1,000 billion yuan in 2018, with revenue models supported by subscriptions, advertising, product sales, offline commercial activities, and "tips" made by fans on social media.

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