Streamers have officially made it, as Chinese live-streamer, Huang ‘Viya’ Wei cracked TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2021 list — a testament to the industry’s rise, but mostly to her prowess as a businesswoman, entertainer, and philanthropist.
Viya isn’t your typical Twitch live streamer. And not just because she doesn’t stream on Twitch. The 36-year-old streams on Taobao and is known for ecommerce broadcasts, during which she’s sold everything from noodles to… a $6 million rocket.
Yes, you read that right: a $6 million rocket.
While Bloomberg’s Allen Wan calls her “a cross between Martha Stewart and Kim Kardashian,” TIME has honored Viya in the 2021 Most Influential 100 list for her successes in both business and philanthropy.
As explained in the YouTube video above, Viya raised around $32 million for Wuhan in 2020 with a fundraising live stream. And this isn’t a one-off either, as explained in TIME’s profile written by Miranda Kerr.
Among Viya’s other charitable efforts, Kerr described over $300,000 raised for Red Cross following 2021 floods in China, as well as donations to help build 18 schools in rural China.
Summing up her feelings about the streamer, Kerr explained that she is “deeply inspired by both [Viya’s] impact and her down-to-earth spirit.”
At this point, Viya’s not just a streamer anymore, with additional accolades including boosting tourism to Hangzhou. As far as a streamer though, she’s set a different standard.
Selling rockets to millionaires is one thing, but her streams are far from exclusive — as she regularly recommends things like cosmetics and food. Her audience has only grown over the years, hitting numbers like 36 million viewers in 2020, according to a Bloomberg report.
That same Bloomberg piece described Viya’s streams as “part variety show, part infomercial, part group chat.” One could say she’s like the hyper-successful, hyper-charitable “final boss” of Twitch’s Just Chatting section.
Whatever analogy you choose, it’s got to be pretty cool to see a streamer recognized on a list with major cultural and business icons like Lil Nas X and Elon Musk.