The Chinese government may clamp down on aspirational content published online as the country follows its common prosperity agenda.


The collective net worth of Chinese consumers soared between 2000 and 2020 from $7 trillion to $120 trillion according to a new report by McKinsey Global Institute. Net worth worldwide rose to $514 trillion in 2020, from $156 trillion in 2000, according to the study. China accounted for almost one-third of the increase.

But, as with the U.S. the wealth is not being shared equally. In both countries, the world’s two biggest economies, more than two-thirds of the wealth is held by the richest 10% of households, and their share has been increasing, the report said.

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, is seeking to redress the trend via his ‘common prosperity’ policy - a way to level up the Chinese economy and re-distribute accumulated wealth more evenly. 

Many of China’s big tech giants have already pledged money to social responsibility programmes since ‘common prosperity’ was launched in August. It’s thought these firms jumped into generosity mode pre-empting they would soon be pushed into it.

Live stream influencers fined for tax evasion

Now, attention is turning from the companies which house the online content to include those who publish the content to those platforms. Earlier this week Global Times reported that two big-name live stream influencers "XueliCherie," real named Zhu Chenhui, and "Lin Shanshan_Sunny," real name Lin Shanshan, had been fined 65.55 million yuan ($10.26 million) and 27.67 million yuan ($4.33 million) respectively for back taxes plus penalty charges. Officials vowed to enhance the regulation targeting tax administration in the cultural and entertainment sector.

Live-stream shopping, the QVC-ification of influencer marketing, is big business in China. Last month Insider reported that Austin Li Jiaqi, the "Lipstick King" shifted 10.7 billion Chinese yuan ($1.7 billion) worth of products during a 12-hour-livestream on Alibaba. 

Influencers blacklisted

Yesterday the Cyberspace Administration of China announced it will tighten oversight of how celebrity information is spread online in an effort to curb the spread of gossip and star-chasing.

The internet regulator is considering setting up a blacklist of influencers who flaunt their wealth online and promote ‘bad values’. This follows a similar move earlier this year by the China Association of Performing Arts which has published a list of 88 people banned from livestreaming.

Expect Chinese KOLs to be less OTT with their aspirational content. Last week Xiaohongshu, a China-focused Instagram clone, reported it had flagged over 8,700 posts and “punished” 240 accounts between May and October that it deemed to have overtly showed off wealth. The platform uses artificial intelligence-powered algorithms to detect wealth-bragging content.

Feature photo by alexey turenkov on Unsplash

Scott Guthrie is a professional adviser within the influencer marketing industry. He is an event speaker, university guest lecturer, media commentator on influencer marketing and active blogger. He works with brands, agencies and platforms to achieve meaningful results from influencer marketing. That tells you something about him but it's not giving you a lot of detail, is it? So, read more here.

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