The news that Papi Jiang, a 29-year-old online comedian, had securing a whopping 12 million RMB (US$ 1.84 million) investment made headlines in Chinese media last month.

People may hold different views about whether Papi Jiang’s brand is worth such a huge amount, but no one denies that internet celebrities are a hot money maker right now.

Online celebrities are a fairly new concept to Chinese culture, but they’ve gained traction quickly, driven by the nation’s increasingly entertainment-hungry society. If something clicks, whether it’s a novel, a funny video or song, or even simply being a good looking, silly or egocentric character, netizens love taking online identities to the next level.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.