Chinese cyber celebrity Papi Jiang draws 20 million viewers for first live streaming show

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 July, 2016, 8:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 July, 2016, 10:01pm

Chinese internet users broke a new record on Monday night when 20 million of them watched Papi Jiang, one of the country’s top cyber celebrities, debut her live streaming comedy show, reflecting mainland mania for the fast-growing live streaming industry.

The 29-year-old graduate student from China’s Central Academy of Drama, whose real name is Jiang Yilei, has become one of the highest-profile cyber celebrities in China, amassing nearly 17 million social media followers since September last year by posting comedy videos online.

The record Jiang set on Monday reaffirms the growth potential of the cyber celebrity industry, which claims more than 200 million viewers and a market value of more than 10 billion yuan (HK$11.6 billion) this year, according to mainland media.

During her 90 minute online show – which was available on eight leading live streaming platforms in China, including Youku, Meipai and Douyu – Jiang told jokes and shared with her fans details of her daily life and romances.

Young Chinese internet users love watching Jiang’s videos in which she mocks everyday life, relationships, movies and social issues by mimicking a gossipy “white-collar” girl in Shanghai. Her videos have drawn more than 300 million views

In March, several domestic venture capitalists, including ZhenFund, Luogic Show, Lighthouse Capital and Xingtu Capital, were reportedly lining up to invest 12 million yuan in the entertainer.

The live streaming industry began to flourish in China last year. According to mainland media, there are 116 live-streaming apps on the mainland, 108 of which have successfully secured financing. The size of the market is estimated to reach 100 billion yuan by 2020, according to a report by Huachuang Securities.

Investment funds and tech giants, including Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, have invested heavily into the fast-growing industry while China’s biggest social media platform Sina Weibo launched its live streaming platform in May. Video streaming site iQIYI launched its live streaming app Qixiu last Friday.

Through social media and live-streaming sites, China’s internet celebrities are forecast generate 58 billion yuan in revenues this year, exceeding the 44 billion yuan in the country’s movie box office sales generated last year, according to a report published by iResearch Consulting Group and Sina Weibo.

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, according to China Internet Network Information Centre.