The World of Chinese - - Cover Story -

Twenty-three-year-old Zhao Pengbo has just grad­u­ated from the Beijing Univer­sity of Aero­nau­tics and Astro­nau­tics, where he stud­ied to be a flight at­ten­dant. Un­like his class­mates, Zhao has no im­me­di­ate plans to start a ca­reer which, while seem­ing glam­orous—es­pe­cially to those who haven’t trav­eled abroad—can be dif­fi­cult to ad­vance within. In­stead, Zhao has de­cided to see if he can use his nat­u­ral charm to make a liv­ing as a “cy­ber an­chor,” broad­cast­ing him­self singing and chat­ting with fans. He tapes live shows in a special record­ing room for three hours day, earn­ing around 5,000 RMB a month.

“It’s a trend and fash­ion­able for young peo­ple to try [on­line broad­cast­ing]. Nowa­days the mar­ket is grow­ing rapidly,” says Zhao. “I like it be­cause this job is more flex­i­ble. I can have the time and space for my­self af­ter work. My par­ents think it’s not even work…i don’t care.”

Fel­low an­chor Meiko, also from Shenyang, was work­ing as a sales as­sis­tant and gym in­struc­tor be­fore she dis­cov­ered Kuaishou and de­cided she had what it takes to host her own show. She has joined a pro­duc­tion com­pany for live stream­ers which has hired about 30 young an­chors, mainly fe­male and pro­vides them equip­ment and stu­dio space to work. Other than a ba­sic salary of around 2,000 RMB, a top an­chor can earn around 20,000 to 50,0000 RMB a month, mainly from pay­ment from their fans, so their sur­vival is de­pen­dent on pop­u­lar­ity and con­sis­tent work.

Meiko uses a pro­fes­sional stu­dio to broad­cast her live shows. Com­pa­nies such as hers are spring­ing up all over China to pro­vide work­ing spa­ces for as­pir­ing Kuaishou celebri­ties

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