Papi Jiang, an online celebrity who’s known for making humorous videos, has secured investment of 12 million yuan （$1.85 million）, media reports said over the weekend.
The investment came from ZhenFund, Luogic Show, Lighthouse Capital and Xingtu Capital, but the specific amount was not disclosed, industry media platform tmtpost.com said Saturday. Luogic Show is scheduled to announce other business matters on Monday, the report said.
Since the start of the year, Papi Jiang, a graduate student from the Central Academy Of Drama, has captured increasing attention on media platforms via more than 40 original videos, ranking No.1 among Internet stars in China during the period, according to the report.
The investment may mainly focus on digital marketing, as Papi Jiang has 7 million fans on China’s popular micro-blogging site Weibo, Zhang Yi, CEO of Guangzhou-based market consultancy iiMedia Research, told the Global Times on Sunday.
There are more than 1 million Internet stars in China. Those who’ve become famous with live videos account for 35.9 percent, those made their name via news events account for 18.2 percent and those who have achieved fame on "We media" platforms account for 27.3 percent, media platform yoka.com said in February.
About 82.5 percent of the stars are beautiful girls and most of them are students or models, the yoka.com report said. And 67.3 percent of them live in first tier-cities, and their average monthly income is about 21,000 yuan, according to the report.
Zhang warned of the "big risks" of investment in Internet celebrities, who may face Chinese Internet management. "Some Internet celebrities got famous for making outside-the-mainstream comments and videos, which may be considered rude, inappropriate or even illegal,"said Zhang.
Ren Zhiqiang, a celebrity blogger and property developer, is among the latest to be blocked from posting content on Weibo. Ren’s Weibo accounts were shut down in late February after Web users reported that he had regularly spread illegal information "resulting in vile influence," according to the Cyberspace Administration of China.
In addition, "I do not see Internet celebrities who have any clear and sustainable business model,"said Zhang. "It’s too risky to support a business that mainly relies on the monetization of an individual’s words and actions."
Xue Yongfeng, an industry analyst with Beijing-based market research firm Analysys International, however, did not completely agree with Zhang. "The business models are very mature. Based on their huge fans, Internet celebrities can make money by selling self-generated content like Papi Jiang," Xue told the Global Times Sunday.
Papi Jiang’s videos posted on domestic video platforms like Tencent, Youku and Bilibili have been played over 100 million times just this year, and more than 3,000 WeChat users are likely to pay for her videos on her official WeChat official account, media reports said.
E-commerce can also be a venue for Internet celebrities to earn money, Xue noted.
By regularly sharing their fashion items and corresponding links on Sina Weibo accounts, cyber stars can convert users to their online store on marketplace Taobao, China’s largest online shopping platform, run by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding.
The annual transaction value of the top 10 Taobao stores run by cyber stars reached more than 100 million yuan, and the top Taobao owner made 120,000 deals on Singles’ Day on November 11, 2015 with 20 million yuan in transactions on that day, domestic news portal finance.qq.com said Saturday.
Xue said that Internet celebrities can also offer intellectual property content, something crucial and powerful for Internet mammoths such as Alibaba in wooing consumers in the current year.