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Economy: China’s Internet Celebrity Making Machine Aims at Western Unemployed Young People

China has developed a mature marketing strategy to use Internet celebrities to promote products on the Internet. It is done by the Multi-Channel Networks (MCN’s), or service providers that help (and even finance) video channel owners (Tiktok, YouTube, etc.) to produce and market products for manufacturers. Now these Chinese MCN’s have put their eyes on the Western channel owners to promote Chinese products directly to the people in the U.S. and Europe.

Chinese MCN’s usually identify the channel owners who they believe have the potential to grow big but currently have only a small or mid-sized follower base. They then work with these channel owners to package them, guide them in producing videos, or even produce the videos for them. This allows the MCN’s to control the channel owners at a lower cost before they become Internet celebrities. These MCN’s sign up Chinese manufacturers to let their channel owners sell the products on their channels. Then both the channel owners and the MCNs share the proceeds with the manufacturers.

Now the Chinese MCN’s are applying their business model to the U.S. and Europe. Some Western channel owners have started to see that they make more money from their MCN work than from their regular jobs.

However, there are also cultural challenges. Chinese MCN’s found that, unlike the Chinese channel owners, the Western channel owners do not like to be told what to do. Also the Western channel owners are more willing to settle for a big enough increase in their follower count instead of going ahead full-steam for a bigger target.

Source: Sina, February 9, 2023