Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Auckland woman streams her day in exchange for gifts

Using her cellphone app to stream what she does, Auckland events co-ordinator Janice Shin lets her followers watch her do her daily chores and even making coffee at work.

In between the 24-year-old chats with them, flirts a little, and they in turn shower her with gifts -- from hugs, hearts and flowers -- virtual presents the followers buy from the app.

Her colleague Jenna Wu, a 23-year-old marketing manager originally from China, has made a few hundred dollars within the past two months.

Wu streams for a couple of hours three times a week, mainly chatting with her regulars, and now has about 2000 followers.

If viewers like what they see, they can reward her with virtual presents that she can trade for cash.

Chinese live-streaming apps are booming in China, and many in New Zealand too are taking to this new reality-show craze to live stream whatever they fancy.

"I can be a star in my own show and have my own fans," said Shin, who is Korean-born and is learning to speak Mandarin.

"It gives me a thrill when viewers give me presents, and I think it makes them happy too when I throw a kiss or give them a wink or smile."

Shin says one of the motivations for her to stream was the cash value that was associated to the virtual presents she gets.

It is users like her that helped drive Ingkee, a live-streaming Chinese mobile app, to consistently being on the No 1 spot on Apple's China app store in the past few months.

Ingkee is one of about 20 live streaming apps started in the past year, which imitates Twitter's Periscope or MeerKat.

The app' developers claim over 50 million users had downloaded the app and activated accounts but would not share the exact number of users who stream, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Douyu, its biggest competitor, says it has 120 million active monthly users and 600,000 users who streamed at least once.

Regular folks, many in China, stream videos of them singing, chatting and flirting, coaxing their followers into giving them gifts and tips.

Kylie Liu, director of cross-cultural consultancy PIN Solutions, is advising clients to jump on the live-streaming bandwagon to access the Chinese market.

"It is by far the most effective way to reach a massive market with people who have ready tokens with cash value to give away," Liu said.

A Cure Kids charity fundraiser where Panpan, a teddybear with a heart on the cheek, is the main mascot, is one of the projects Liu had promoted through the Ingkee app.

"Within minutes of live-streaming and talking about Panpan's mission, we got hundreds of gifts, donations and well-wishes," Liu said.

"The trick for those wanting to make the most of these apps is to be as creative as they can with their content."

Simon Young, chief executive of syENGAGE, said there were two ways businesses here can benefit from this trend.

"Firstly by getting their products in the hands of the live streamers, and secondly by running their own live streams on their existing social media channels, which can be a great way to leverage an event, provide training, demonstrate products, etc," Mr Young said.

"Most importantly, NZ companies should have a strategy in place when considering live streaming and other cool new things."

- NZ Herald

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