Livestreaming emerging as a glamorous career choice

By Li Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/27 19:53:41

Illustrations: Peter C. Espina/GT

A friend of mine used to be obsessed with watching livestreaming shows. After hours of singing, dancing or giving makeup tutorials, these online celebrities would start to peddle makeup products or low-calorie snacks at very low prices. Every time my friend watched such a show, she could not resist the temptation of buying those little things in the hope that she would be as beautiful as the cute livestreamer behind the beauty camera.

My friend's obsession grew after she saw the news - Harbin Vocational College of Science and Technology, located in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, has started training for becoming livestreamers. Online celebrities would come to class to teach students how to sell goods and make money during livestreaming. After passing the exam, the students will have certificates issued by relevant departments.

Many students who joined the coaching were attracted by the high income of a livestreamer, according to The Beijing News. So is my friend. She is no longer satisfied with buying things from other livestreamers. Instead, she wanted to start her own career as one, as she knew livestreamers can receive many expensive virtual gifts and earn from the goods they sell.

In fact, her dream is not something out of fantasy. According to the 44th China Statistical Report on Internet Development released in August, the number of Chinese livestreaming users had reached 433 million by June 2019, accounting for 50.7 percent of Chinese netizens. Famous livestreamers may receive virtual gifts worth thousands of yuan every day. With the combination of e-commerce, online celebrities' monthly income exceeds that of company executives in major Chinese cities. This is one of the most important reasons for the industry's rapid rise in China.

Harbin Vocational College of Science and Technology is not the first to set up classes for potential online celebrities. As early as 2015, there were e-commerce network model classes in Yiwu, known as the nation's small commodity capital in East China's Zhejiang Province. In 2017, Chongqing Institute of Engineering reached an agreement with an enterprise on jointly building a department of online celebrities. These classes teach students online celebrities' economics, communication psychology, personality building, application of new media operation tools and other skills that are required for livestreaming.

However, the fad also leads to controversy. Many people on China's Twitter-like Weibo say that livestreaming, a seemingly easy job, will propel more teenagers to abandon their education and more adults to give up their daily jobs and turn to become livestreamers. "Are there any students who still want to be doctors, teachers or scientists when they grow up? Won't they choose to study in the more relaxing online celebrities training class?" a netizen asked.

On the other hand, systematic livestreaming education will greatly professionalize the newly emerged industry. Currently, some livestreamers may sell fake or substandard products. Livestreaming training classes may help future online celebrities become more professional and more qualified to join the industry. This is also a good way to help promote employment and boost the healthy and standardized development of livestreaming. 

Indeed, famous online celebrities live a wealthy and flashy life. But we need to maintain a sober understanding of being online celebrities. After all, as more and more people enthusiastically join the vocation, there will be fewer who finally succeed. 

Think twice before rashly quitting your education or work - that's what I told my friend. Now it seems she has calmed down, as she has figured out that personal interest is very much different from a real career. But the training class for livestreamers still makes her happy as her leisure time will be further enriched.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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