China's Internet live streaming market is expected to more than double to 43 billion yuan (.3 billion) this year as fans increasingly follow celebrities, a joint study by Weibo and Internet consultancy iResearch.
At the end of May, the number of users following Internet celebrities on Weibo jumped 20 percent from a year ago to 465 million — a little under one and a half times the entire population of the United States.
More than 60 percent of online fans were male and about 54 percent of them were from lower-tier cities, the study found.
Internet celebrities are also increasingly relying on multi-channel networks, or small-scale talent agencies, to support their video production.
Multi-channel networks provide marketing and promotional services for the celebrities and share commissions from their advertising or sponsor income.