China’s live-streaming obsession is a window into the future of the internet

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Live-streaming is huge in China. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry soon projected to surpass China’s box office, with an audience the size of the entire US population. It’s popular there in a way it isn’t yet in the West.

China has roughly 700 million mobile internet users, making it the largest commerce and mobile payment market on Earth and the epicenter for innovation in tech.

Technology giants like Tencent and Weibo spent years growing behind the Great Firewall and are now starting to change the internet outside of China. Their success proves that innovation doesn’t necessarily require democracy or the free flow of ideas.

In this episode of Quartz News, Isabelle Niu looks at China’s live-streaming industry to understand how the country is transitioning from being the world’s factory of things to a factory of ideas.

Quartz News is a weekly video series bringing you in-depth reporting from around the world. Each episode investigates one story, breaking down the often unseen economic and technological forces shaping our future.

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