Social Media Digital Celebrity Challenges In China

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Social Media Digital Celebrities In China

Our research revealed that China's only digital celebrity is Luo Tianyi, with over 1.7 million followers on her official account on Weibo. Other digital celebrities are Kizuna Ai (Japan), around the globe: Ami Yamato, Bermuda, Blawko, Lil Donny Red, Lil Mayo, Lil Miquela, Noonoouri, and Shudu.


The phenomenon of digital idols is still at a very early stage in China, with the estimated number at 26. According to Beijing Business Today, roughly 14 of them were “born” in 2017. While this is the case, reports indicate that only Luo Tianyi, a virtual idol, is popular in the mainstream with over 1.7 million followers on her official account on Weibo. There are no other virtual idols that enjoy the same press coverage as Luo or are mentioned in the various media sites like the South China Morning Post or developer sites like Shanghai Henian IT that address the rise in this trend - which experts say was still in "exploration period up until 2018."

With no other digital celebrities in China, we broadened our research to those in Japan, where we managed to locate an additional virtual avatar, Kizuna Ai (with over two million subscribers to her YouTube channel).

Next, we utilized the resource of the Daily Mirage, published by the Medium Corporation to generate an additional list of virtual celebrities globally. The Digital Mirage follows these holographic stars on their social media pages and employs regular updates. They categorize them based on their popularity — A-List, B-List, C-List, and Others. The names on the "A-List" or the popular list also collaborated as the most famous in multiple news sites including CNN, NBC News, the Huff Post, and more. From the “A-List” we chose characters based on the number of social media followers.

Luo Tianyi

Weibo - 1.7m followers

Kizuna Ai

Youtube - 2.5m followers
Instagram - 148k followers
Twitter - 520k followers

Ami Yamato

Youtube - 142k subscribers
Twitter - 12.2k followers


Instagram - 129k followers


Instagram - 134k followers
Youtube - 3.6k subscribers
Twitter - 1.8k followers

Lil Donny Red

Instagram - 119k followers
Twitter - 14.4k followers

Lil Mayo

Instagram - 1.9m followers
Youtube - 40k subscribers
Twitter - 73.8k followers

Lil Miquela

Instagram - 1.5m followers
Youtube - 35k subscribers
Twitter - 19.9k followers


Instagram - 270k followers


Instagram - 160k followers