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Internet

China’s ‘post-millennial’ generation is different. Here’s how

The generation driving the explosive growth in short-video and live-streaming apps is more willing to pay for online content and services, and more open to making a living off the internet

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 August, 2018, 7:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 August, 2018, 9:17pm

Think millennials are a tough bunch to understand? Wait till you meet the “post-millennials” – the smartphone-wielding group of youngsters born in and after the year 2000.

In China, this so-called linglinghou cohort, whose oldest members are 18, will enter the formal workforce in the coming few years and form a key pillar of consumer spending. The generation driving the explosive growth in short-video and live-streaming apps is more willing to pay for online content and services, and more open to making a living off the internet, according to a report by Sequoia Capital China. The venture capital company has invested in companies including Meituan-Dianping and VIPKid.

And for many of these teens, their career aspirations may veer toward making money off live-streaming, short video and user-generated content. In the most developed cities like Beijing and Shanghai, about one in 10 of these adolescents are already make some income via the internet. Some do it through live-streaming, short-video and creating content like comics for special-interest sites, while others make money by gaming sites.

About 15 per cent of these post-millennials also hope to start their own businesses, rather than take up traditional professions like medicine, law or accounting.

The top 10 things you need to know from the China internet Report

With a population of 1.4 billion people, China is home to 772 million internet users, the biggest online community in the world, according to the China internet Report co-authored by the South China Morning Post, its tech news site Abacus and the San Francisco-based venture capital firm 500 start-ups.

Given its sheer scale, China has three times the number of smartphone users and 11 times the number of mobile payments users compared to the US, ingredients that are driving the development of the app-based economy.

Douyin, known as Tik Tok outside mainland China, is an app that lets users post 15-second video clips accompanied by music and special effects. It has shot to the top of download charts thanks to its younger users -- 80 per cent of them were aged under 30.

Post-millennials in China are also most likely to spend on digital entertainment, including video, music as well as information, followed by food, travel, e-commerce and e-books, according to the Sequoia report. The VC firm has backed start-ups including Moibke, VIPKid and Toutiao.

And yes, China’s linglinghou are likely to be more opinionated and independent, as almost half of them have parents who both attended university.