China / Society

Rise of the cyberstar economy

By WANG YING in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-09 02:23

Rise of the cyberstar economy


News of Chinese online celebrity Papi Jiang securing 12 million yuan ($1.85 million) in venture capital funding has ignited a debate over whether a "cyberstar economy" has just been created in China.

The 29-year-old Shanghai woman, whose real name is Jiang Yilei, shot to fame using Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter. Unlike many of the other Chinese online celebrities who usually post selfies of themselves in fashionable clothes or at glitzy events, Jiang's appeal is her no-frills and satirical commentary on everyday issues. Jiang was in 2015 rated number two in a ranking of Chinese Internet celebrities by China Internet Weekly, only after Wang Sicong, the son of China's real estate tycoon Wang Jianlin.

Since publishing her first batch of clips in July last year, Jiang, who is a graduate student from the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing, has amassed a following of more than 9 million followers. Each of the video clips posted on her WeChat account has been viewed more than 100,000 times.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, Jiang was reportedly valued at 300 million yuan even before she received the funding. On April 21, an auction for the first advertisement to appear on Jiang's video feeds will be held on Alibaba.

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