5 crazy antics like eating a shark, a staged kidnap, promoting beauty product with a grimace that saw online influencers go over the top in 2023

5 crazy antics like eating a shark, a staged kidnap, promoting beauty product with a grimace that saw online influencers go over the top in 2023

Short video platforms and live-streaming events have become the new mainstream way for people in China to express themselves online.

According to China Association of Performing Arts, there were more than 1 billion short video accounts and 150 million of the live-streaming variety by the end of 2022.

All in all they generated 200 billion yuan in income in 12 months.

So, in a crowded marketplace, influencers often stretch credulity to the maximum to get a slice of the cake.

Unfortunately, or maybe not, some go too far in search of clicks.

The Post has compiled a list of five crazy things online influencers in China did in 2023 that landed them in hot water.

Er Lv

Influencer Er Lv was kicked off the Kuaishou platform after a police probe revealed he had staged his own kidnap for clicks. Photo: Sohu

When Er Lv, an influencer on the Kuaishou platform who has 48 million followers, was kidnapped by a group of men, who threatened to bury him alive during a live-stream in August last year, viewers called the police in Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong province, where the incident happened.

Police investigations revealed that the influencer staged the kidnap to hype his account and he was banned by the platform.

Hong Lv Deng De Huang

Hong Lv Deng De Huang faced a backlash when she “tarnished” the image of a top fashion brand with her “crazy and vulgar” style. Photo: 163.com

This influencer, who has 9.3 million followers on Douyin, triggered an online backlash in November last year after she tried to promote a YSL beauty product with a grimace and dishevelled hair.

Online observers criticised her “crazy and vulgar” style, accusing her of tarnishing the brand’s image.

The young woman works for the company of Douyin’s top influencer, @Fengkuangxiaoyangge, or Crazy Little Yang Brother, who amassed 100 million followers for acting insanely in his e-commerce live-streams.

His madcap stunts included biting plastic slippers and smashing a fry pan on the ground.

Ti Zi

It does not get much more crazy than eating a whole shark live on air, but that is exactly what influencer Ti Zi did. Photo: Douyin

The mukbang platform influencer who at one point had 1 million followers does not get much crazier than eating a whole shark live on air, but she was fined 125,000 yuan (US$17,600) in January, after she cooked and ate an endangered great white shark on video.

In a new clip she posted later, the woman apologised for her ignorance, adding that she was tricked by a seafood vendor who illegally captured the shark, telling her it was a farmed breed.

She spent 7,700 yuan (US$1,000) on the shark.

B Tai

Scales of justice: B Tai went out of his way to bring dishonest merchants to book across China by weighing their goods to see if customers were being cheated. Photo: Douyin

This 20-something influencer had been dedicating his life to exposing dishonest merchants across China.

His tactic was to take a weighing scale everywhere he went and measure every dish he ordered at a restaurant or every purchase he made at a fruit stall, to see if the amount of the goods measured up to what was advertised.

His 24 million fans witnessed him exposing vendors who gave short weight, repairmen who charged customers overly high prices, unauthorised tour groups that misled tourists in their advertisements and hailed him as a hero.

His fame reached such levels, that when he visited Dalian in northeastern China’s Liaoning province in November last year local authorities warned markets to pay special attention to business integrity.

Xiu Cai

Lip sync singer was the darling of middle-aged and older women, but his style of delivery got him booted off Douyin. Photo: YouTube

When the account of Xiu Cai, an ordinary 39-year-old man with 12 million followers on Douyin, was shut down in September last year, it broke the hearts of his loyal fans who were mostly middle-aged and older women.

On the face of it, his videos were nothing special.

He slicks back his hair, occasionally covers his mouth, sticks out his tongue and lip-syncs old songs, but what young people considered his “greasy”, or somewhat sleazy, manner hit home with older women who grew up in a time when such a style was acceptable.

One 72-year-old admirer was so crazily in love with Xiu that she travelled 1,700km to meet him.

There has been no official explanation as to why his account was blocked, but media reports said he was under investigation for tax evasion.

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