Chinese live streamer lives the Chinese dream makes $100,000 a month

Chinese live streamer lives the Chinese dream makes $100,000 a month

Yu Li is ready for his close-up. Hair: poofed. Face: powdered. Any minute now, he will be live on camera, raking in the cash.

From a studio in the northern city of Shenyang, Yu, who goes by Brother Li, spends hours a day broadcasting on YY, a social network. When he cracks a joke (which is often) or gives a shout out (ditto), fans send him “virtual gifts,” which represent real money.

His show is a mix of chitchat, music and humor, all steeped in “dongbei,” or “northeast,” culture. He also founded and runs a talent agency, Wudi Media, which trains and promotes wannabe online stars.

On the other side of the screen are people brushing their teeth or getting through the last minutes of a long shift. Some are aspiring celebrities hoping to parlay their voice, looks or facility with boob jokes into online fame. For a cut of their earnings, Yu will help them out. To the tens of thousands who tune in to Yu’s show each night, his life is the stuff of legend, the very embodiment of President Xi Jinping’s favorite slogan: the Chinese dream.

Although live-streaming is popular many places, including the United States, China’s broadcasting boom, like much here, is bigger. About half of China’s 700 million Internet users have tried live-streaming apps — that’s more than the population of the United States.