The latest trend in China – Live Streaming
A woman eating maggots, a boy strumming the guitar whilst playing the piano with his feet and a man screaming a traditional Chinese song from the top of his lounges whilst sipping rice wine. These are some of the online performances I have witnessed with my very own eyes, whereby regular people use smartphones to live stream whatever suits their whims and needs.
Individuals and companies are looking to tap into a rapidly expanding mobile-video market that’s demanding something sexy, novel and edgy reflecting the new flux of young people’s tastes and interests. Zhang Qige, a 23-year old girl who plays computer games and talks live brings thousands of real time viewers simultaneously. She receives more than 2 million subscribers on a typical viewership of 400,000 for each nightly show. “They feel like I am speaking to them face to face.”
The proliferation of websites and such illustrate the monetizing of social media in addition to the entrepreneurial drive of young Chinese in a state, which encompasses 668 million individuals online.
Their popularity reveals the solitude of urban life in China along with the growing excess of single men, attributed in part to the nation’s former one-child policy.
Much of the information on various live streaming websites could be considered seedy, and beyond the borders of good taste. Indeed 34 individuals in the central province of Anhui were detained after streaming live pornography. However the majorities are using these streams for innocent entertainment.
Apps hosting these live streaming events derive revenue though advertisements and virtual gift giving. Viewers can purchase virtual gifts like pictures of blooms or bottles of beer for his or her favourite performers. Who are then able to convert these gifts into hard cash. “I believe everyone, without exception, enjoys to see beautiful girls,” said a 28-year old single office worker who requested that he be identified only by his surname, Zhai. He said he spends 500-800 Yuan ($80-120) a week buying virtual presents on four or more distinct websites. One of the popular host websites claim to have 120 million active users who spend a mean time of 48 hours per month on their website.
This business model operates well in China building on the conventional culture of giving red envelopes stuffed with fruit, smokes or bottles of alcohol and cash at weddings at the Lunar New Year.”Gifting is a familiar practice offline, and moving that online to form e-relationships appears to be the natural transgression,” said Hans Tung, a managing associate at GGV Capital, a venture capital firm.
The largest online market continues to grow in China bringing aspects of traditional habits and culture intertwined with western popular culture to an ever-demanding young user base.