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60% of China’s recent graduates interested in career as influencer

Over sixty percent of young Chinese would contemplate a career as a wanghong (influencer), a broad term in China that includes vloggers, live streamers, and other online content creators, according to survey results widely shared on Chinese social media on July 11.

The survey, conducted via the Weibo platform, queried 10,000 recent college graduates about the factors they consider when selecting a profession. 61.6 percent of respondents said they would contemplate a career in an emerging industry such as livestreaming, influencer marketing, or other forms of content creation, while 38.4 percent said they would never consider such a career.

Multiple sources have emphasised that the vast majority of content creators earn only 5,000 RMB (695.40 USD) per month, which is significantly less than the national average of 29,300 RMB (4,400 USD).

Numerous commentators continue to express scepticism regarding the long-term viability of a career in online prominence, but social media entertainment is increasingly becoming a recognised career path.

Sixth Tone reported in 2017 that the Chongqing Institute of Engineering had launched a three-month programme to teach students the skills required to become a professional livestreamer. In 2020, "livestream salesperson" was recognised by the state as an official occupation. Hundreds of Chinese universities offer degrees in "broadcasting and hosting" and "internet and new media"

The rise and collapse of livestreaming celebrities such as 'Lipstick King' Li Jiaqi due to minor infractions illustrates the precarious nature of internet success in China. However, other forms of content are flourishing in China's social media landscape.

Educational, psychological, or cultural content, for instance, may not generate as much traffic as fashion or beauty, but does not require the same levels of charisma, attractiveness, or moral leadership from its creators. Consequently, they are subject to less government scrutiny. Former tutoring company New Oriental has successfully transitioned into a content creation business by selling agricultural products and introducing viewers to travel experiences, becoming one of the industry's major participants.

Considering examples such as these, China's Generation Z may view social media as a long-term passion project that may yield financial rewards in the future, rather than as a means to make a quick buck by becoming renowned overnight.

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