China’s top cyber celebrity? ‘Papi Jiang’ from Shanghai has VC firms lining up as brand valuation hits record US$1.84 million

The woman, Jiang Yilei, and Wang Sicong, son of China’s richest man Wang Jianlin, currently rank as country’s most popular stars on social media, according to Chinese news reports

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 March, 2016, 5:55pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 March, 2016, 9:35pm

A 29-year-old woman from Shanghai who started posting humorous videos online six months ago has become one of the most high-profile cyber celebrities in mainland China.

As venture capitalists are reportedly lining up to invest in her brand, Papi Jiang, it has already hit a valuation of 12 million yuan (US$1.84 million), Chinese media report.

The woman, Jiang Yilei, a graduate student from China’s Central Academy of Drama, has posted about 40 original videos via Chinese social media sites including microblogging site Weibo and Tencent’s mobile chatting platform WeChat since last September.

WATCH: ‘Papi Jiang’ rant about how she hates it when people in love constantly talk about their partner

She uses the online moniker Papi Jiang and has already attracted more than eight million followers on Weibo alone.

Several domestic VC funds, including ZhenFund, Luogic Show, Lighthouse Capital and Xingtu Capital, announced earlier this week that they would be investing in her brand. This is largest funding of its kind for a young Chinese cyber celebrity on record.

One short video of Jiang that lasts roughly four minutes drew over 100,000 views within two minutes of being posted online in February, according to Chinese tech news website 36kr.com.

In her videos, Jiang mocks everyday life, relationships, movies and social issues by mimicking a gossipy white-collar in Shanghai and talking in a mixture of Shanghai dialect, English and Japanese.

Occasionally, she pokes fun at some of China’s top leaders. In one video, she dons a pair of wide-frame glasses to make light of former president Jiang Zemin’s angry response to Hong Kong news media in 2000 after he was enraged by journalists’ aggressive line of questioning.

According to mainland media, Jiang and Wang Sicong, son of China’s richest man, Dalian Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin, currently rank as the most popular social media celebrities in the country.

The younger Wang serves as chairman of private investment firm Prometheus Capital. Known for his outspoken views, he has over 19 million fans on his Weibo account. His real-estate mogul father has an estimated worth of around US$13 billion.

China now has 668 million internet users, accounting for 48.8 per cent of the country’s total population. About 40 million new users were added last year, the CNNIC said.