A new sensation has seemingly hit the Chinese youth of today—live streaming.
That’s right, a year after Periscope and Meerkat, the video streaming mobile apps, were released in the West, the Middle Kingdom has finally got on board this growing trend. Seeing many foreign apps do not function optimally in China, users generally have to migrate to a Chinese app. Live streaming is no exception.
For first-time users, it can be a challenge to get started, so here is a quick rundown on all you need to know to start your video streaming empire.
There are about a bajillion (rough estimate) Chinese video streaming apps available on both Apple and Android phones. They function mostly in the same ways—users can add hashtags, viewers can give “presents,” which correspond to real money, and live chats can be utilized by all parties. Almost all of them let you log in through a variety of social media platforms platforms, such as Weibo and WeChat.
However, this does not mean that all apps are created equal. If you want to start on a platform with a lot of users, here are a few of the best choices.
映客 Yingke (or Inke)
An app solely for the purpose of video streaming, Yingke is one of the most popular choices around. It’s reliable, fast, and very easy to use. One problem is that there seems to be many bots that view streams, leading to inflated viewership numbers.
The best part: it has a music function built in, which allows you to search and play songs (with lyrics) while you stream.
Made in conjunction with Weibo, Yizhibo is thoroughly integrated with that microblogging service. This means that Yizhibo’s user base is very big and includes various celebrities—Jet Li for one. The number of fake viewers also seems to be lower, but this is at the expense of total viewership number per stream.
The best part: because of its backer, Yizhibo is probably the most reliable service. Its connection to Weibo is also handy for those who can’t decide which apps to use.
This app started life as a platform to create videos. It has automated functions to apply filters and make edits. And now it has added video streaming. True to its name, Meipai (“beautiful shots”) offers users the option to enhance their stream in a visual manner.
The best part: it has an existing relationship with Weibo, and who can resist the chance to improve the image of your moneymaker?
The three app suggested above all have one important limitation—they are solely for mobile use. Douyu, on the other hand, started off as a desktop service (a la twitch.tv). It was only later that they introduced a mobile app. Content on this service is generally more targeted towards gamer/nerd culture as well as broadcasts of a more…adult nature.
The best part: the choice of broadcasting on your phone or computer cannot be understated.
As a live video broadcaster, it is important to find your niche (pronounced “neesh”). Not everyone can succeed at creating live comedy, so other avenues of telecast cultivation need to be utilized. Here are a few of the most effortless and common paths.
The Celebrity—It’s pretty hard to secure this spot, but once you have it, the money will just roll in. You don’t even have to do anything when the camera’s rolling. In fact, many of the celebs on these live streaming apps don’t do anything so much as simply exist in their broadcast.
The legs tell you everything [china.com.cn]
The Good Looking—Similar to “The Celebrity” but more subject to bias, as one’s looks can both be deemed good looking and ugly. If you (think you) qualify, then all that needs to be done is to show copious amounts of face.
The iPhone mic is a must have tool [Baidu]
The Songster/Songstress—Perfect candidates for Yingke, due to the app’s music capabilities, these individuals spend much of their broadcast displaying their vocal prowess—or lack thereof—by practicing tunes and taking requests. It may seem like an easy path to take, but the strain on their vocal cords should not be taken lightly.
Who says gamers can’t be girls? [Baidu]
The Gamer—Those that go this route normally end up on Douyu, as broadcasting video gameplay solely by phone can be a hassle. These people normally start up a video game and play with commentary. Nothing else is needed. Most viewers join in either for witty commentary or simply to see how the game develops.
Just a few hours of this [xiazaiba.com]
The Foreigner—I didn’t really want to go there, but this is the sad truth. Simply with a visage that does not look native to China, these users can rake in viewers as well as monetary gifts. Normally, they will converse in Chinese—adding to the novelty—but even without this language skill, these broadcasters still draw in crowds.
Not charging the phone will prove to be a mistake [ifeng.com]
The Bore—These users do not have any special talent to share with the world. Instead, they stream video of themselves undergoing mundane activities, such as eating, reading, and even sleeping. Yes, there are those that watch these types of videos. It requires the least amount of effort, but needs a certain type of audience to sustain itself.
Cover image from Yesky