China's internet celebrities are leveraging their popularity among young Chinese followers to make money like never before, creating an industry with real investment value, a new industry report has found.
According to the report published by research and consulting company iResearch, as of May, the ranks of internet celebrities on Sina Weibo with more than 100,000 followers had increased 57.3% from a year ago.
The report also found that the total number of their followers surged 20.6% to 470m year-on-year.
Additionally, it showed that 61.4% of the online celebrities' followers were male.
The iResearch findings indicated that the mobile internet is penetrating into lower-tier cities, with about 54.1% of the followers coming from small cities.
Through posting words, pictures, voices, video clips and live steaming associated with brands, online celebrities were turning their fame and influence into real cash, said Zou Lei, co-president of iResearch.
Daily transaction volumes of e-commerce related directly to online celebrities exceeded 54.7 million yuan in the second quarter this year, representing 106% year-on-year growth, according to data from Sina Weibo.