After 531 days of not uploading any new videos, Li Ziqi, a prominent Chinese vlogger, finally reached a court settlement with her multi-channel network (MCN) partner company, Weinian Brand Management Co., Ltd. The Chinese media outlet “Chinese Entrepreneur” reported on December 28 that Li Ziqi will return to broadcasting in the near future and will continue to cooperate with Weinian in the future. How to cooperate and how to divide the business is still being discussed.
Besides Li Ziqi and Weinian, many investors behind Weinian were also actively dealing with the dispute. As of July 2021, Weinian has finished seven rounds of financing from well-known venture capitals and Internet giants. After Li Ziqi had a dispute with Weinian, ByteDance, which participated in the C + round financing, withdrew.
One investor told China Entrepreneur that he has been lobbying Weinian and Li Ziqi hard this year, hoping that the relationship between the two sides will ease. “The result is still relatively good, and there will be more positive news in the near future,” said the investor. The two sides are still planning the details for when and in what form Li Ziqi is to come back.
However, the vitality of Li Ziqi’s popularity is now uncertain. During the year and a half when Li Ziqi stopped making new videos, many influencers failed, including Viya and Xin Youzhi (also known as Xinba), which represented a dispersion of traffic.
Before the dispute, Li Ziqi and Weinian had benefited from working together. Seven years ago, Liu Tongming, founder of Weinian, discovered the potential of Li Ziqi and took the initiative to cooperate with her. At that time, Weinian was not famous and had no popular video creators.
In 2016, both parties reached a deal and so began the rapid development of Li. In January 2021, Li broke the Guinness World Record for “most subscribers for a Chinese language channel on YouTube” with 14.1 million subscribers. At the beginning of 2022, Li had 115 million fans through her three accounts on Weibo, Bilibili and YouTube.
Slow is one of Li Ziqi’s trademarks. She posts a video per month on her Weibo account and is known for creating food and handicraft preparation videos in her hometown, often from basic ingredients and tools using traditional Chinese techniques. She is not in a hurry to make a profit from her videos and it was not until 2018 that she started to operate a Tmall store.
In fact, her latest public appearance was in a public welfare activity in March this year. In October last year, she appeared on a CCTV program and candidly talked about her future plans, saying that she would still make videos and promote Chinese traditional culture, and was not worried about being forgotten by the public.