Weibo Pioneering the Chinese Online Superstar Industry

The Online Superstar Forum held by the leading China social media platform Sina Weibo was recently held in June 2016, and attracted hundreds of popular online superstars like Papijiang(Papi酱),  Zhangday(张大奕eve), Aikelili(艾克里里), Wangnima(王尼玛) to the forum.

Online Superstars

Papijiang(Papi酱) at the Weibo Online Superstars Forum


Zhangday(张大奕eve) appearing at the Weibo Online Superstars Forum

Previously called KOLs or even Grassroots Journalists or Citizen Journalists, the group were renamed Online Superstars in mid-2015. Whatever the moniker, the status and popularity of Online Superstars has risen remarkably over the past five years. A recent study – Online Superstar Eco-Environment White Paper – carried out by iResearch and Weibo, indicated that this rising popularity and the associated  industry is a direct result of  improving internet technology and the diversified Chinese digital, social and cultural environment.

The study also pointed out that the popularity of an Online Superstar  was highly dependent on their appearance, their level of creativity, their ability to produce high-quality content, and the quality of their business and management company. Short films, live stream videos, and social commerce will be the three main contributors to the future development of the Online Superstar Industry, which will gradually become a key aspect of the developing Chinese digital environment.

Social media platforms like Sina Weibo helps to shape the superstars’ popularity through fan reposts and word of mouth social sharing, which means their content can quickly and widely spread on the internet.

In fact, Weibo’s research indicates that the Online Superstar’s average PV (post views) exceeded 10 billion per month during first quarter 2016.

Who are the Online Superstars?

According to the white paper;

  • 74% of online superstars are female
  • 88% of them are aged between 17-33
  • 89% are highly educated
  • Most Online Superstars are from economically developed areas such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces
  • Their fans are also young and highly educated
  • Most fans are male and live in the developed cities.

The white paper also concludes that alongside the development of the Online Superstar industry, there will also be a growth of other content marketing professionals content creators and content producers.

Whilst the current business models include brand representation, advertising, e-commerce and sponsorship, the white paper stopped short of suggesting how the industry will mature and what other business models might develop in the future. It did, however, raise the valid points that Weibo is a leading launch pad for the Online Superstar industry and that there will be many more star-studded forums for the growing audience to watch and enjoy in the near future.

Where will it end? No one knows, but it sure will be fun watching. Let’s watch the industry develop together!