5 October 2018
For Professionals

Live-streaming Hosts Earn Up to Millions of Dollars A Day: Momo Founder on China's New Economy

“On 30 Sep, the highest reward earned in one day by an online celebrity was RMB 9 million (S$1.6 million) on our app”, said Mr Tang Yan, founder of social search and media mobile application Momo (陌陌) during the Business China Network Group Dialogue session on 5 October, to the surprise of most attendees. “This celebrity was not a gorgeous lady,” Mr Tang Yan quipped, “but a male”.

Mr Tang Yan shared with the 29 attendees his insights on the live streaming industry in China. He said that the popularity of online celebrities on live streaming platforms was a unique trait to China. Many wealthy businessmen were willing to pay large sums of money to these celebrities to gain social recognition.

At the closed-door dialogue session at the Warehouse Hotel, Mr Tang Yan expressed his views on the rapid growth of China’s economy over the last 30 years. He said that China’s economy has rapidly transformed from a closed-market system in the early 1990s into a fully open economy today. The consumption patterns among the Chinese, especially the younger generations, have been largely affected by the development of new technology and economic prosperity.

On the post-90s young Chinese, Mr Tang Yan observed that they generally shared common traits such as possessing a strong learning capability, keenness to express themselves and were optimistic in their consumption behaviour. However, the younger generation faced more temptations as many of them wanted a higher quality of life. Those who were less wealthy were often vulnerable to conspicuous consumption, and some even landed themselves in debt.

On the motivations of founding Momo, Mr Tang Yan shared his experience of once befriending someone online in his early days. He was then recommended by this friend to work in Beijing, which built the first step in his career that led him to become the editor-in-chief of a famous Chinese website. When he decided to start his own business, he sought tech-savvy partners and founded the social platform Momo with the aim of connecting strangers.

When asked about Momo’s future plans, Mr Tang Yan revealed that Momo would focus on the domestic market in China, while social search application Tantan (探探), which Momo recently acquired, would venture into the international market.

In the welcome speech by Business China acting CEO Ms Fiona Leung, she said that Business China was honoured invite Mr Tang Yan, a pioneer in this new online industry, to share his entrepreneurial experience and insights to China’s consumer behaviour. Ms Fiona Leung also thanked Mr. Aaron Tan, founder of used car platform Carro, for moderating this dialogue.

This dialogue saw an active discussion between the speaker and attendees. The Business China Dialogue series features experts from the business sector and government to provide insights into current issues of the day. Members of Business China are invited to the exclusive sharing and networking sessions.