Fan Fundraising Platform Halts Transactions; More than 30 fan clubs complain about tens of millions of yuan freeze

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Hundreds of fans gather outside a hotel where Chinese-Canadian pop idol Kris Wu was staying in Chengdu, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, in 2017. Photo: VCG

One of the most popular platforms for Chinese fans to support their “idols” by raising money and obtaining information about the entertainment industry has announced that it is suspending all commercial services, which means that Support for artists through financial channels is not allowed on the platform, and the notice suddenly enraged dozens of fan clubs, including South Korean group EXO fan clubs and K-pop idol Lisa.

The Owhat platform said on Sina Weibo on Thursday that it would suspend all trading services, including the sale of products on stars, and that it would also stop deposit withdrawal services. Fans who have purchased products can request a refund.

The notice angered many fan clubs, and more than 30 fan clubs have posted statements on social media protesting the action as they may not be able to recoup their profits and have lost. tens of millions of yuan, the Red Star News reported.

Some fan clubs have said they have cooperated with Owhat to make rectifications such as applying for company certificates after Chinese authorities began to rectify the “fan circle” chaos in August, but the platform did not tell them. gave their profits and they had to pay themselves. factories that made products.

Since its launch in 2014, Owhat, a product of the fandom economy era, has been an important place to raise funds for fan clubs.

Some artist fan clubs have bought billboards at metro stations to celebrate the birthdays of their idols or have bought the naming rights to the asteroids. A large amount of money was raised from millions of fans, and platforms such as Owhat were their bases.

The Red Star News said that in order to raise enough funds to support artists, fan clubs usually release certain products such as albums and photo books of their idols and encourage fans to purchase those products on Owhat.

The prices of these products were generally higher than those of similar items sold on traditional e-commerce platforms in order to raise more funds, and fans made this clear, according to the report.

A fan of Chinese actor and singer Wang Yibo, 26, told the Global Times on Sunday that she bought posters of her idol which were made by fan clubs on the platform, under the influence of her love. for the artist of the time.

The resulting profits were turned into supportive materials such as snacks, drinks and flowers that were sent to the star when Wang appeared on television programs or acted in television and film works, a- she added.

Such fundraising is reminiscent of pyramid selling to many, and in many cases the spending is not transparent, observers noted.

In August, China’s Cyberspace Administration posted a notice on its website asking provincial offices to rectify the chaos in the fan circle. The administration specified 10 measures, including revoking all artist ratings, banning forums that have chosen fights and led to chaos, and asking agencies to better guide fan groups.

The idol market in China is estimated to be worth around 140 billion yuan ($ 21.6 billion) in 2022. Given this booming market, the rectification campaign has come just in time to create a clear environment for fans to rationally hunt the stars, noted officials and experts.


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