Editor’s note: This article is the first of two in a series on WeChat. The second, “WeChat reaches audiences conventional media in China cannot” can be found here.
Flourishing social media platforms like WeChat are changing journalism in China. In place of legacy media companies, independent influencers called Key Opinion Leaders, or KOLs, are attracting both attention and money.
In a country where information is tightly controlled by the ruling party, a voracious demand for news catered to specific interests has given way to a boom in what directly translates as “self-media”—user-generated content created by one person and inspired by the slogan “be your own media outlet.” For the savvy influencers on China’s WeChat, who include former reporters, film critics, or other industry insiders, the financial incentives to move from traditional news outlets onto WeChat and “sell” stories are substantial.
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“Once you have a following, [ad] agencies will find you and you will start to earn,” said former finance reporter turned public account writer Xu Yang. While the rate depends on the makeup and size of your following, in March of 2016 comedian Papi Jiang auctioned off the right to advertise on her public account for $1.86 million. Mi Meng, one of the top earners ranked by NewRank.cn—a company that scores all WeChat public accounts in terms of readership, open-rate, and other parameters—charges $75,235 per banner ad.
Tencent, WeChat’s owner, has also capitalized on the fact that the platform is the world’s most
Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/tow_center/how-wechat-became-primary-news-source-china.php