Web host tests boundaries with sexually charged shows

By The Beijing News Source:Global Times-Agencies Published: 2016/5/20 0:42:38

Wang prepares for a breast model contest in Chengdu, Sichuan Province in March. Photo: CFP

A screenshot of Wang's live-streaming show Photo: Courtesy of Wang Ruier's Weibo


Wang Ruier was running late. It was 10pm one day in April, and 4,626 viewers had already signed on to her channel on Douyu TV, a Chinese online platform for live videos, waiting to see her nightly show, which was supposed to start at 9:30. "Show up, bitch!" one viewer commented impatiently.

When the screen eventually lit up, viewers saw Wang in a KTV room. The 23-year-old was wearing a black camisole and ripped skinny pants, showing off her sculpted shoulders and generous cleavage. "Babes, sorry for being late. I'll make it up to you with a dance," she said to the webcam in a sensual, fake Taiwanese accent.

When sexy dance music started, Wang Ruier swayed her hips and ran her fingers through her hair as she stepped onto the sofa with one leg. Squatting down on the sofa, she then extended one leg toward the webcam and started stroking it slowly. The show had just begun.

Wang used to be a model, actress and club dancer. Last December, she found a new job - as a Web host. Her shows, which often feature her dancing in revealing costumes, attract thousands of real-time viewers each night.

One dance later, viewership had soared to 12,000. Wang returned to her computer to check the live comments from her viewers as she blew kisses to the webcam.


Wang is one of millions of Web hosts trying to make it in China's burgeoning live-streaming industry, which attracts millions of viewers. However, since many of these shows contain seedy content, the authorities have started to crack down on them in recent months.

After several couples broadcast themselves having sex live, China's Ministry of Culture investigated 19 live-streaming sites on April 14 for "allegedly providing content that contains pornography or violence," including Douyu TV, where Wang had become one of the most popular female hosts.

On April 18, more than 20 of these companies signed a self-disciplinary agreement. Under this agreement, hosts are required to register their real names and all videos have to be backed up for at least 15 days for inspection. Most of the requirements are targeted at pornography.

Some sites immediately slapped even more restrictions on the hosts. Men, for example, are banned from posing in their underpants. Eating bananas "seductively" and showing cleavage or buttocks are not allowed for female hosts. Some even goes further in quantifying the amount of breasts and buttocks that can be revealed - no more than a third.

As a result, Wang became much more modest in the way she dressed. She firmly believes that she exhibits a unique sexual magnetism that can instantly attract a man without having to strip off. "It only takes one second to click, and that's my invincible charm,"  she said.

As an only child, Wang admits to growing up pampered. She lives in Sanlitun, Beijing's fashion hub and the symbol of the city's nightlife, and chose to major in acting.

When she was 19, she moved to Dubai with her parents and lived there for a year and a half. In the luxury capital, Wang said her entire view of life changed. She saw Western girls who were so curvaceous that she felt "she hadn't fully grown up," and the leather sofas in the upscale malls were so comfortable that she didn't want to leave. At the airport, she couldn't take her eyes off the Louis Vuitton luggage that some passengers flaunted. "When you see those LV luggage, you feel there's nothing you can't do [for them]," she said.

To improve her looks, she started to frequent gyms, and filled her closet with hundreds of shoes. In 2013, she started to post sexy selfies on Weibo, making her an online celebrity.

Devoted fans

Half an hour after the steamy dance, her viewership soared to 30,000. One of them was a user who called himself "Rong Gege," one of Wang's most devoted fans. In the past month, the wealthy bachelor has been tipping Wang three to four hundred yuan each night through WeChat's digital red envelope function.

"Show everyone your competence tonight, Rong Gege," Wang said.

Rong soon sent her an "envelope," and Wang asked her viewers to guess the amount. One person guessed it right. It was 1,314 yuan ($200), which sounds similar to "one lifetime" in Chinese.

Live streaming is a lucrative business. Apart from direct cash transfers from devoted fans like Rong, Wang gets "virtual gifts" from her viewers, a kind of commodity-based digital currency invented by the platforms. Many hosts can earn thousands of yuan each night just from the gifts.

At 11:30, Wang decided to take a risk in order to attract more viewers - she took off her high heels, jumped onto the sofa and started moving sensually. She then lay behind the sofa and touched it erotically, as if it were her body.

Just as she became immersed in her dance, live streaming suddenly stopped. "The live broadcast is over," a pop-up window announced. Later, Douyu TV said her channel would be shut down for 999 hours for violating site rules. Her channel and all its videos were gone.

Wang admits she can be phony, dramatic and sometimes obnoxious in front of the webcam. "But who would watch me if I talk and act normally?" she said.

Wang said that in real life she never flaunts her sex appeal, claiming she doesn't even like to look at herself in the mirror. But Wang says it's hard for her to give up what her job as a Web host can offer her. "I'll never be satisfied," she said.
Newspaper headline: Webcam queen

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