Internet celebrity 3rd most popular 'dream job' in Taiwan

Becoming an internet celebrity is the 3rd most popular 'dream job' in Taiwan

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Taiwanese streamer 薛薛 Monique (@1120Monique Facebook page)

Taiwanese streamer 薛薛 Monique (@1120Monique Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Becoming an internet celebrity is now the third most popular "dream job" for Taiwanese workers, accord to a survey by 1111 Job Bank.

When asked what their ideal job would be, the top choice was civil servant at 24.98 percent, followed by engineer at 16.83 percent, consistent with previous surveys, however a new choice, internet celebrity (網紅), took the third spot at 15.67 percent. 

However, it's not easy to make big bucks being an internet celebrity, when looking at the income of 315 job seekers who listed themselves as cyberstars on 104 job bank, the highest monthly salary was NT$75,000 (US$2,400), but on the low end of the spectrum, some only reported making NT$20,000 a month, less than the mandatory minimum wage of NT$22,000.

Because income from being an internet celebrity is based on how many videos are produced, how popular they are and it is only a percentage of the profit, 66 percent of cyberstars work part-time on as many as six to seven different jobs. 

Another drawback is that a career as a cyberstar is often only a short flash in the pan, with nearly half giving up in a short period of time. The average life-span of a professional internet celeb is only about 9.2 months, with about 70 percent dropping out after one year, reported Apple Daily

A key difference between internet celebrities and film/TV stars is that fans demand a great deal more interaction, the streamers must constantly beg for virtual gifts and fans expect "friendship" after meeting the celeb face-to-face. Online messages are never-ending throughout each day and one's private life can suffer. 

Nevertheless, the market for online celebrities is growing and in some cases they are surpassing traditional celebrities in terms of popularity. In the second quarter of 2014, there were only 23 openings for internet celebrities, but in the same period this year, there were 863 postings seeking online stars, a 37.5 fold increase, according to the report. 

After graduating from Tamkang University with a degree in Chinese two years ago, 24-year-old Taiwanese internet celebrity Monique (薛薛) began live streaming told Apple Daily that there are many hidden pressures with the job, such as the fact that the streaming platform requires that she earn a certain number of "diamonds" in order to continued to be paid and receive a percentage of profits. For this reason, Monique must ask fans for gifts, but Taiwan does not have so many tuhao (nouveau riche) as China, 

One day a fan who was a masseuse apologized to her for not giving more gifts, but she said she had already donated around NT$8,000 to the streaming platform and had bills to pay. This made Monique realize while a live streamer can make NT$50,000 to NT$65,000 from just sitting and chatting, many of the fans work really hard to set aside money buy gifts for the streamers. 

"The platform takes away most of the money, the hard-earned money spent by the fans is a kind of psychological pressure, I feel like I'm taking advantage of them, and I should not keep asking them for gifts," said Monique. 

Taiwan's largest, streaming platform Lang Live (浪Live) has been downloaded in Taiwan 2 million times, with more than 200,000 active users watching more than 90 minutes of video content each day. After Lang Live joined forces with King-Kong (金剛 King-Kong) in January of this year, the two platforms broadcast more than 5,787 stations every day, with examples of content including singing, magic shows, musical performances, live TV broadcasts, cooking, and numerology.

Last year, the top ten streamers garnered nearly 700 million diamonds from fans, the equivalent to NT$100 million.