LIANG TAO shifted 80 pink Givenchy bags in 12 minutes. Becky Fang offloaded 100 turquoise Mini Cooper cars in just five. Both are wanghong, literally “red-hot on the web”. Every day millions of Chinese trawl social media for wanghong posts or tune in to live-streams for opinions on everything from a French fashionista’s essentials to rampant sexism in China. The fans are helping this new breed of Chinese internet star to monetise their popularity—and to shake up the country’s e-commerce industry in the process.
Unlike conventional luxury-and-beauty brand ambassadors, many wanghong have built their fan bases through compelling online content rather than a famous name. Some of the most successful are not especially glamorous. “Pudgy Luo” is a middle-aged man who discusses everything from Chinese emperors to 3D printing on his talk-show. MC…Continue reading