Chinese have become notorious for pirating software: in 2015, 70 percent of software installed on computers in China was not properly licensed, followed by Russia and India, according to a study last year by BSA, a trade association of software vendors. Now, however, the situation is changing.

Chinese people have developed a paying habit for content published by KOLs. Top content writer on Dedao earns $3 million in annual revenue with its close to 100,000 subscribers. And other Chinese platforms like Zhihu and Weibo have created ways for its KOLs to monetize their fan base. WeChat has introduced a tipping function to its WeChat service account, with 22% of the users tipping more than RMB 10 ($1.45) every month (in Chinese).

Tipping culture even has a history in China. In ancient China, audiences would give gifts or cash to performers, which partly explains why tipping artists and content creators is popular in China.

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Eva Yoo

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at evayoo@technode.com