A new breed of online service providers is offering China’s wannabe conspicuous consumers the appearance of living the high life – all for about US$1.
Internet users can pay around 10 yuan (US$1.50) to tap into dozens of services with vast libraries of showy stock videos to post on social media as their own.
The videos include footage of expensive cars, holiday resorts, Chinese celebrities and pricey food.
The services are aimed at zhuangbi, a slang term for pretentious people, and designed to allow subscribers to post the videos – complete with personalised voice-overs – on their “moments” feed on WeChat, the ubiquitous social networking space in China.
Dozens of e-tailers advertise the services on online platforms such as Taobao, which is owned by Alibaba. Alibaba also owns the South China Morning Post.
In one online review, an anonymous customer said he finally knew where everyone on their WeChat moments got the money they were showing off, adding “with 700 videos to choose from, I can fake it for many months and years”.
But critics on Chinese social media mocked people who bought the stock videos.
“For some people, the more they lack, the more they need to show off,” one user wrote on Sina Weibo, China’s popular microblogging platform.
“Are they showing off their wealth so more people will come to them to borrow money?” another joked.
Even as China’s economic growth slows, its expanding middle class of nearly 400 million consumers is expected to help drive consumption at home and abroad. Around 35 per cent of the country’s population is projected to have more than US$10,000 in annual disposable income by 2030, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Other showy internet services in China have seen netizens paying for others to drink bubble tea or eat fried chicken on their behalf so they appear to have the experience, captured in a social media-ready video, without having to pay the health costs.
This article The Chinese video firms selling the online look of the rich and famous first appeared on South China Morning Post