China's YY Creates an Online Hostess Lounge

The lovelorn can give favored performers virtual gifts—for a fee
Photograph by Philippe Brysse

Ni Linlin has made a career out of convincing men to send her virtual teddy bears, necklaces, and blue roses. Using a laptop in her 10-square-meter (110-square-foot) living room in Qingdao, China, the 25-year-old entertains as many as 2,000 fans a day as a DJ and singer on YY, a Chinese entertainment website with nearly a half-billion users. For Ni, however, coyly playing with her fans online is no game: She earns five times more than two years ago when she quit her job as a secretary.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.