On October 7th, in the official promotional video for “the Wonderful Night of Douyin”, Chinese social media influencer Li Ziqi, who had been on hiatus for two years, made a brief appearance. This has sparked speculation among netizens about the possibility of Li Ziqi’s returning to the Chinese e-commerce scene after a long break due to a dispute with her agent, Weinian.
In September 2016, Li Ziqi signed a contract with a MCN agency – Hangzhou Weinian, becoming one of their influencers. In 2017, Li Ziqi and Weinian jointly established the company Sichuan Ziqi Cultural Communication Company, with Weinian holding 51% of shares and Li Ziqi (whose real name is Li Jiajia) holding 49%.
Since then, Li Ziqi’s popularity skyrocketed as she successfully obtained financing from more than ten companies including ByteDance, Tongcheng Group, and Huaxing Growth Capital.
In 2018, Li Ziqi had over 5 million followers on YouTube. In 2020, with a subscription count of 11.4 million on YouTube, Li Ziqi entered the “Guinness World Records 2021”, and one year later, she broke her own world record. Guinness comments that Li Ziqi is “spreading Chinese culture to the world, breaking through language barriers and cultural differences, allowing more people to understand the beauty of Chinese culture.”
In July 2021, Li Ziqi suddenly stopped updating her content. Months later, Ziqi Cultural Communication Company sued Hangzhou Weinian in court, over intellectual property disputes.
After Li Ziqi ceased updates on social media platforms, numerous fake accounts using her name emerged, which forced Li Ziqi herself to release a lawyer’s statement demanding an end to copyright infringement. On the other hand, Li Ziqi’s stopping updating had led to significant losses for Weinian. In the first six months of 2022, the total sales of products under the brand “Li Ziqi” on China’s largest e-commerce platform Tmall saw a decline of over 50% compared to last year.
On December 27th, 2022, Weinian published an article on its official WeChat account stating that the company had reached an agreement with Li Ziqi.
As of September this year, Li Ziqi still holds a massive fan base of around 92.067 million followers across four major domestic platforms. On YouTube platform alone, during the past two years of hiatus, her subscriber count increased from 15 million to 17.7 million.