Li Ziqi's sudden stop a reflection of unfair operating mode to contract-bounded Chinese influencers: analyst
Published: Sep 28, 2021 12:27 AM
Photo: A screenshot from Li Ziqi YouTube account

Photo: A screenshot from Li Ziqi YouTube account

The sudden absence of new posts from Chinese cultural blogger Li Ziqi on social media has fueled speculations about legal disputes between the star and Weinian, the company that owns her image. Experts say it cannot be ruled out that Li might be stuck up with company's unfair overlord clause.

Li stopped publishing new content after an 18 minutes video titled "Firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, and tea" was uploaded to major online platforms, like Bilibili and Douyin, the Chinese version of Tiktok, and Youtube, on July 14. 

However, during her disappearance from social media, Li posted two separate comments online saying she contacted the police and denounced capital. 

Though Li's agents have refused the media's inquiry to comment over the issue, experts say that Li's disappearance could be related to a "legal dispute between Li and the company that she has been working with."

Li Ziqi has been working for a long time with an influencer company based in Hangzhou called Weinian. 

Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based independent tech analyst, told the Global Times that Weinian is one of the typical influencer marketing agencies who help the influencers with brand identification. 

"It offers a strategy for a brand's campaign that will maximize engagement and audience reach. And that is the mode for Li Ziqi as an influencer."

Originally named Li jiajia, Li worked with Weinian to jointly create a celebrity brand, using the name Li Ziqi to build a Chinese ideal in the past few years.

In 2016, a short online video named "Lanzhou beef noodle" published by Li made the online star famous for the first time. The short video also allowed Li to meet Liu Tongming, a "talent scout" and the founder of the online celebrity agency Weinian technology. He helped the star promote her career successfully both in domestic and foreign markets. 

"Yet as the influencer's net worth grow, issues such as financial disputes might come to the surface between the influencers and the agencies," Liu noted to the Global Times on Tuesday.

Li was raised by her grandparents in rural Sichuan after allegedly fleeing an aggressive stepmother. She dropped out of school at the age of 14. Later, she opened a Taobao shop and a worked as a DJ in bars before she became what she is right now. 

Born in a single parent family, Li has become a young woman who is liked by many urban netizens because of her hermit-like self-sustained lifestyle in rural villages which has been described by some netizens in big city as "true life meaning", and "peaceful."

"It would be a pity for us if Li leaves the company as it owns the brand Li Ziqi," said Liu.