How online platforms have changed the face of China’s plastic surgery sector

7 min read
Screenshot of a plastic surgery live-stream. (Image credit: Seoul Leaguer Beaucare Hospital)

“He is making the incision now. There’s a lot of blood so I won’t show it on camera …” live-streamer Ye Xiaobin says as he narrates a grisly scene that wouldn’t look out of place in a horror movie.

Dressed in scrubs and a surgical mask, Ye does not resemble your typical Chinese online celebrity, but his videos have attracted hundreds of thousands of views. While others choose to chat about clothes or show off their video game skills, Ye focuses purely on plastic surgery. This time, he’s filming as his friend goes under the knife for a nose job.

Ye owes his online success and army of followers to the rapid rise of the country’s cosmetic surgery sector. The market is expected to be the second-largest globally by the end of the decade with a value of RMB 334 billion ($48.5 billion), according to a report from Deloitte. The industry’s value doubled between 2015 and 2017 wh

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