Chinese micro-bloggers pay cash for followers

The Chinese craze for micro-blogging has reached such dizzying heights that companies are now offering to help people boost their following and stand out from the crowd - for a price.

"Why use our services?" one company called Yangcheng Media asks on its website. "Who would you follow? Somebody with 2,000 followers or 20,000 followers? The answer is easy: most people have a herd mentality."

The firm offers up 100 followers for just one yuan ($0.15), in a bid to make users of China's popular Twitter-like weibo services stand out from the pack.

Micro-blogging is hugely popular in China, where other more traditional media such as newspapers are heavily censored. As with Twitter, people with huge amounts of followers achieve a much sought-after type of cyber-standing.

The number of weibo users more than tripled from January to June this year alone, reaching nearly 195 million - roughly equal to Brazil's population - according to the semi-official China Internet Information Center.

And this number may continue to rise. By the end of June, there were a total of 485 million Chinese online users, more than half of whom are not yet sending weibo bursts of about 150 Chinese characters each.

One company called Gaodeding - which translates as "Yes We Can!" - goes a step further, offering weibo addicts a package of 20 active followers for one yuan, according to a man surnamed Liu who works at the firm.

Active followers are people who update their accounts daily, rather than so-called "corpses" who seldom post or spread information from netizens they follow.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - London - £45,000

    £35000 - £45000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Wes...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - Kent - £40,000

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - ne...

    Recruitment Genius: Electronics Engineers / Senior Electronics Engineers

    £25000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in Henley-on-Thames, this...

    Guru Careers: Account Manager

    Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking an Account Manager to join a c...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project