In China, virtual gifts are a big business

Hundreds of thousands of self-taught influencers have embarked on the race for fame and live off this atypical income.

He is the man who sells lipsticks online faster than his shadow. At 27 years old, “Lipstick King”, alias Li Jiaqi, is able to sell 15,000 models in a few minutes thanks to his patter in live streaming on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. With more than 40 million followers, the young man with the shimmering jackets is the new star of e-commerce. He embodies the new power of influencers in China, the world’s largest online marketplace, capable of single-handedly boosting Alibaba’s sales by $ 145 million, on November 11, the Singles Day.

The new millionaire now lives off his contracts with brands, but still garners many virtual gifts from his army of subscribers. And, in its wake, hundreds of thousands of self-taught influencers have embarked on the race for fame and live off this atypical income, inventing in recent years a new business model for live video applications.

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