More than 60% of Chinese youngsters want to become internet influencers, livestreaming hosts: survey
Published: Jul 10, 2023 11:35 PM
An anchor from New Oriental Education introduces goods through an online livestreaming platform. Photo: Courtesy of New Oriental Education

An anchor from New Oriental Education introduces goods through an online livestreaming platform. Photo: Courtesy of New Oriental Education

In a recent survey on Chinese youngsters' employment orientation, more than 60 percent of respondents said they would like to capitalize on opportunities in emerging industries like the internet influencer or internet livestreaming sectors. As media reports on the survey went viral on Monday, they triggered heated discussions on Chinese social media.    

Some netizens attributed the result to the intense competition in the current employment market, but, from a broader perspective, analysts said it reflects the open mind of and diversification trend among youngsters compared to older generations when looking for jobs. The participation of more highly educated talent would also help improve the overall quality of the industry, analysts pointed out. Meanwhile, they called on youngsters to stay cautious when looking for jobs, noting that becoming an internet influencer is not as easy or profitable as some youngsters think. 

Conducted by Sina Weibo platform, the survey received feedback from nearly 10,000 respondents. Another 38.4 percent of respondents said they would never consider becoming internet influencers or livestreaming hosts.

This is a natural outcome considering the rapid development of livestreaming and short video platforms in China, Zhou Haiwang, deputy director of the Institute of Population and Development under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday. Zhou also pointed out that a market-oriented trend is gaining steam in the field of employment in China. 

According to a report on China's livestreaming and short video industry released in May by the China Association for Performing Arts (CAPA), revenue in the industry reached 199.2 billion yuan ($27.5 billion) in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 8 percent.

As of 2022, there were more than 150 million internet host accounts, creating more than 100 million job opportunities. The number of job applicants to major Chinese livestreaming companies and short video platforms exceeded 500,000 during the same period, according to the report. 

In 2022 alone, 10.32 million new accounts were created on livestreaming and short video platforms in the country, the report said. 

Some analysts see youngsters looking forward to joining the livestreaming and short video industry as a positive signal that Chinese youngsters are stepping out of the shackles of the traditional thinking that well-educated college graduates have to find an "iron rice bowl" or "shiny jobs in skyscrapers." They are more open-minded when looking for jobs, analysts said.  

The participation of more college graduates will also improve the overall quality of workers in the industry, Chen Lixia, a senior consultant on talent development, was quoted as saying by media. She pointed to Dong Yuhui, a teacher and livestreaming host for New Oriental Education, as an example. 

Dong became a big hit on popular short-video platform Douyin in June 2022 by introducing products in both Chinese and English. Many Chinese consumers said that they never expected they could learn English while also shopping online. 

The bilingual host rose in popularity, earning more than 1.3 million fans in just three days, making cultural livestreaming a trend in China.

Youngsters should be encouraged to seek more opportunities and jobs that match their interests, their majors or their career plans. Along with the development of the livestreaming and short video industry, some big companies are also forming their own livestreaming teams, which brings about better development prospects for well-educated personnel in the industry, Zhou Haiwang noted. 

However, Zhou called on youngsters to stay cautious when looking for jobs and not step into the industry just because it looks profitable. 

In fact, it is not easy for any influencer to succeed.

According to the above mentioned CAPA report, 96.2 percent of people whose major income source was hosting livestreams earned less than 5,000 yuan per month in 2022. Meanwhile, only 0.4 percent of Chinese livestreaming hosts can earn more than 100,000 yuan per month.     

The dividend of the industry is declining after the rapid development in previous years and the industry has now entered a transitional period from chaos to regulated management. Youngsters need rational thinking and long-term planning before entering the industry at this time. They also need to enhance their various abilities when working in the industry in order to seek better development in the future, analysts said.