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Live Streaming Phone Apps Explode in China


In this Feb. 28, 2016 photo, online web performer Wang Weiying, 18, broadcasts a live stream from her smartphone as she walks down a street in Beijing. Wang has turned to one live broadcast site, Huajiao, to earn money to study abroad. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

In this Feb. 28, 2016 photo, online web performer Wang Weiying, 18, broadcasts a live stream from her smartphone as she walks down a street in Beijing. Wang has turned to one live broadcast site, Huajiao, to earn money to study abroad. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)


Millions of people in China are now sharing parts of their lives with the world by broadcasting live video on their phones.

There are more than 80 apps for live streaming in China, and the number is growing all the time. Two of the most popular are Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live.

The country also has its own video streaming app called Ingkee. It lets users send live video while interacting with viewers. In just one year, the app reached number one on Apple’s iTunes store in China.

Paul Haswell is a technology expert and partner with the law firm Pinsent Masons. He said streaming apps are popular with young people because they can send video of anything they want.

“They are successful for the same reasons they are successful in the West. They allow anyone to be a broadcaster of anything,” said Haswell.

Some users stream video of personal events like vacations or weddings. Others broadcast to as many people as possible while interacting with viewers through chat.

“You’re becoming a live reporter anytime you want to,” Haswell said.

College student Nic Li told Forbes.com she spends three to four hours each week chatting and singing with viewers on Ingkee. “Sometimes I feel lonely and want to talk to people,” she said. “It feels nice when viewers are paying attention to me.”

The apps are also being used for commercial purposes. Individuals and companies have used them for selling makeup and skin care products. Celebrities also use live streaming to directly interact with fans.

Some of the content, such as pornography, is illegal to send over video in China. The country’s Ministry of Culture has shut down many users and websites streaming illegal material on live apps.

But the activity has become big business in China. Ingkee says 50 million people have already downloaded its app. Another company claims 120 million users.

Even the person considered to be China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, has used live streaming to publicize his company.

Wang is chairman of the property development company, Dalian Wanda Group. He streamed live video while visiting a company theme park. He also sent video while relaxing aboard his private plane last week.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Shannon Van Sant reported this story for VOANews.com. Bryan Lynn adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Do you use any live streaming apps with your phone? Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

app – n. a computer application mostly used on a mobile device

streaming – n. method of transmitting video or audio over a computer network

interact – v. – to talk or do things with other people

makeup – n. cosmetics applied to the face

content – n. information contained in a website or other electronic source

pornography – n. material showing people naked or in sexual situations

download – v. the means of getting a file or program onto a computer or device

relax – v. spend time resting or doing something enjoyable

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