Online celebrity economy: A threat to economic progress in China?
(A beautiful face is a "must-have" to be an online anchor and plastic surgery has become a common thing in the circle. Guo Yameng took part in a competition and got a chance to have plastic surgery free of charge. She said she did not like the all-look-same online celebrity faces but she wanted to be more beautiful. When she was signing the operation consent form, a medical staff member showed her parts of lower jaw bones that other patients had left. Guo instantly covered her eyes.)
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness." The online streaming industry has arrived in China, grabbing more than 200 million users on nearly 200 live webcasting platforms in 2015, according to a report.
A good online anchor has 50,000 to 100,000 fans and can earn up to 100,000 yuan ($14,560) per month. For some top-notch anchors, an annual income of nearly 10 million yuan is not out of reach.
Instant fame and quick money is attracting many good-looking girls to join the industry. Some of them are going to great lengths to become an online celebrity.
Guo Yameng lies on the operating table before plastic surgery in Beijing on Oct 3, 2016. She underwent the knife for full face-lift.
Guo hopes to look better in 20 days.
Post-95 girls usually like Western-style big eyes, high-bridged nose and sharp jaw, and they are willing to share their surgery experience.
Zhang Xinyi, one of the post-95s, has a return visit to the hospital. Her Korean doctor shows her the photo of her previous look as a comparison and said she will look better as swelling subsides. She was mocked by her friends after the surgery and cried, but she is satisfied with the after-surgery look.
Hai Xing (R), head of Shenggu media company in Changsha, Central China's Hunan province, opened online celebrity agency after graduation. An online celebrity agency will pull all the stops to make its anchors famous. Sometimes it only takes seven days.
Hai Xing looks for online anchor candidates everywhere. He found two students of Hunan University playing piano well and tried to persuade them to be online anchors on Nov 16, 2016.