“Stream Queens” are the new rising stars in China and South Korea. They earn money by streaming themselves, singing songs and talking about several topics. Stream queens have gained a lot of fans, especially Chinese men seeking an escape from every day loneliness and boredom.
The newest class of China’s rising stars
“Stream Queens” are becoming China’s biggest celebrities, and all they do is stream themselves online. China’s internet users have become hooked to many of these proclaimed “Stream Queens”, who are usually beautiful young Chinese women who stream themselves singing popular songs or talking about various topics. By the end of the year it is predicted that live-streaming platforms will have over 312 million viewers, which is over half of China’s internet population.
But what attracts so many people to these “Stream Queens”? For many it is like a mass online dating service, as users can attract the attention of these beautiful hosts by buying them virtual gifts, which “Stream Queens” can then exchange for cash. Ten thousands of people usually tune into the live streams of China’s most popular Stream Queens, and shower them with virtual roses and gifts, which amounts to hard cash for China’s lucky stream hosts. Accordingly, your rank will increase when you give more gifts; giving 50 Yuan earns you the title of “Rich Man” while giving up to 5 million Yuan earns you the title of “Divine Emperor”.
What does it take to be a Stream Queen?
Though there are tens of thousands of people trying to become popular on live streaming apps such as Qiqi, Douyu and Ingkee, only a handful have achieved stardom. Da Cui is one of these proclaimed “Stream Queens” and she earned up to $6,000 USD (40,000 Yuan) a month for her performances. Ms. Cui or Big Cui as she’s popularly known makes ten times the average wage of the regular worker in her province of Henan.
Ms. Cui is popular for her down-to-earth and cheerful demeanour, as she’s often singing various Chinese pop songs on air, talking about Chinese pop culture or live-streaming some of her day to day activities. Ms. Cui has an active following of 5,000 cyber fans that refer to themselves as “the army of Cui”. Subsequently, among China’s Stream Queens Ms. Cui is ranked only number fifteen, in an ever growing phenomenon which has over 70,000 other streaming hosts on Qiqi.
Other top Steam Queens include Cao Anna, who at times has been able to earn over $150,000 in a month. China’s new class of celebrities are making a fortune, and all they do is stream themselves singing and talking to their fans a couple hours every day. Accordingly, tens of thousands of people have been driven to make it big and become Stream Queens, however not many people achieve this dream as competition is fierce. In an interview with Zi Han, 21, who is an aspiring Stream Queen, she states that “this is hard work. I have to keep talking and singing for three hours, even if only a few people are watching”. Zi Han is considered a moderately successfully streaming host by some, but still she only makes around $300 USD (2,000 Yuan) a month.
As more and more young Chinese girls try to become the next Stream Queens, some Universities have started to offer specialized courses in cultivating talented stream hosts. These live-stream training courses are starting to appear throughout China, and offer streaming etiquette, singing practice and dancing.
South Korean Stream Queens
The Stream Queens of China are also rivalled by South Korea’s Stream queens; however the Korean Stream Queens are a bit more bizarre than their Chinese counterparts. Park Seo-yeon, also known as “The Diva”, has been able to make over $9,000 USD a month, for live streaming while she eats food. This Korean Stream Queen quit her job at a consultancy firm to stream herself gluttonously eating for hours at a time.
Unlike her Chinese counterparts who sing and dance, Park-Seo spends her streaming time eating numerous dishes, while her fans shower her with virtual gifts, which can be converted into hard cash. It is thought that in Korean culture it is shamefully to eat alone, thus Park-Seo’s stream is a way for many Koreans who live alone to feel less ashamed and less lonely.
China’s lonely men fuelling the Stream Queen phenomena
The number of single households has doubled the past decade in China, and men are finding it harder to meet women or enter into relationships, as men are too busy working or cannot afford the costs of being in a relationship, as China continues to rapidly become a materialistic society. Thus, Chinese men are seeking an escape from their ongoing loneliness and boredom, which has led many of China’s lonely men to seek companionship online. Live streaming apps like QiQi have enabled China’s Stream Queens to become so popular because they allow China’s lonely men to go on “mass dates”, with beautiful young Chinese girls, and men can even attract the attention of Stream Queens or talk to them if they shower them with virtual gifts.