(ECNS) -- Both the number of online celebrities and their fans have seen rapid growth in the past year, according to a report by Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo and consulting firm iResearch.
In 2018, online celebrities who had more than 100,000 followers increased 51 percent year on year, and those who had more than 1 million followers rose by 23 percent.
As of April, the number of followers of Internet celebrities had maintained an upward trend, reaching 588 million, a year-on-year growth of 25 percent. Fans under 25 accounted for 53.9 percent, while 61 percent of Sina Weibo users were also of the same age group.
The report also showed that 31 percent of fans came from small cities, and 20 percent from first and second-tier cities. In comparison with the data in 2017, more online celebrities had a higher education background, with 14.6 percent having master’s degrees or above.
The cyber stars mainly came from the comedy, fashion and pan-entertainment sectors, but increasing numbers were also building a growing influence in areas of education, food, fitness, parenting and child care.
Internet celebrities have more diversified ways to boost their revenues, with considerable growth in product endorsement, advertising, online tipping, and paid subscription services. In particular, advertising has grown rapidly, becoming an important source of income. In the past year, the percentage of online celebrities who signed up with advertisers increased from 23.1 percent to 57.53 percent.
Another noticeable trend is that more online celebrities now operate on multiple platforms at the same time. As of June, more than 60 percent ran at least six accounts on different online platforms, such as Youku video and Sina Weibo.
As a core part of the booming online celebrities industry, the multi-channel network (MCN), an organization that works with video or e-commerce platforms to offer assistance to channel owners, has also seen explosive growth. Now about 93 percent of A-list cyber stars have signed up with MCNs, said the report. Sina Weibo had entered cooperation arrangements with 1,917 MCNs, a year-on-year growth of 269 percent.
Sina Weibo has vowed to continue improving the business ecosystem and help Internet stars increase their profit-creation, establishing an e-commerce platform integrating resources. Sina Weibo also kicked off a plan in April to share advertising revenue with content creators.