Online broadcasters are cashing in on the booming digital economy

Zhu Shenshen
A third of professional anchors earn double the  national income every month.
Zhu Shenshen

About a third of professional online anchors — or broadcasters — in China can earn up to 100,000 yuan (US$15,300) a year.

A report by Momo, a Nasdaq-listed social platform with online broadcasting business, said such earnings, more than 8,000 yuan a month — almost double the national average monthly income in 2017 — makes online broadcasting a key player in the booming digital economy in the country.

And it is a young person's industry. According to Momo, two-thirds of the online anchors are born after 1990.

Online anchors, who offer music, dance, talk shows, games and other performances in the cyber world, bring billions of dollars to the industries with players including Momo, iQiyi and Huajiao.

Shanghai’s anchors have the highest academic degrees, the Momo report said. The broadcasters' talents includes both ICT expertise and trans-disciplinary skills.

Such talent drives the development of the digital economy, which is essential to power China’s economic and digital transformation, according to a report released by LinkedIn and Tsinghua University.

China’s digital economy grew 16.6 percent in 2016, more than double the GDP growth rate that year, due to China’s cyber services from e-commerce, mobile payments, the sharing economy to online broadcasting, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Barely a presence three years ago, the fastest-emerging Internet broadcasting sector produced revenue of about US$5 billion in 2017. The industry will maintain double-digit growth in coming years, said Credit Suisse in a report.

In 2017, iQiyi’s online broadcasting revenue jumped 10 times since it debut services three years ago, said Xu Weifeng, iQiyi’s co-president.

The top show of iQiyi attracted 94 million online clicks last year.

Two years ago, some popular programs promoted sexual content to attract audiences.  But now programs have become more diversified and less sleazy thanks to government regulation and websites' self policing. 

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