beijing, china, chinese students, mandarin, seattle, tech, technology

In China, live-streaming apps soothe lonely souls and create fortunes

Cheng Lihua primped her hair, put on makeup and adjusted her gold-plated microphone. Then she got to work.

“You hurt me so deep that I can’t forgive you,” she crooned into the microphone, nodding her head to the rhythm. “Already knew our love is gone.”

Cheng, a 22-year-old recent college graduate, is a professional “live streamer,” a booming business in China these days. She works four hours a day and earns nearly $3,000 a month chatting and singing songs for an online audience of thousands — all from her bedroom in China’s far-northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, where she lives with her parents.

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