All Abstracts > Zhibo Gonghui: China’s “Live-Streaming Guilds” of Algorithmic Experts
Zhibo Gonghui: China’s “Live-Streaming Guilds” of Algorithmic Experts
Authors | Affiliation:
Chris K. K. Tan | Nanjing University; Tingting Liu | Jinan University
1A | Platformization and Digital Labour in China
In China, live-streaming fuels a larger industry of Internet celebrities worth USD 50 billion in 2020 (China Business Industry Research Institute 2020). With untold millions of broadcasters all clamoring to gain fame and fortune, the sheer competition catalyzes the rise of “live-streaming guilds” (zhibo gonghui) that help members elevate themselves in the performance charts of the various live-streaming apps. In this article, we conceptualize these guilds as collectives of “algorithmic experts” (Bishop 2020) that sell theorizations of algorithmic visibility to both aspiring and established live-streamers. We argue that while the guilds do attempt to pierce the heavy veil that obfuscates performance algorithms, they manipulate more the audience’s emotions to enlarge their members’ stable of tipping fans. As such, this article better illuminates the dynamics of the Chinese live-streaming industry.
About the authors
Chris K. K. Tan