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Periscope /

              i  Jingyuan  became  a  fan  of  A-                            “
              SOUL this April, after acci-
        Ldentally clicking into their live       If A-SOUL were real human beings,
        streaming channel on BiliBili, a Chi-
        nese  video-sharing platform. “It  was           I probably would not have
        interesting to watch their live stream-
        ing,” Li says.                                           become their fan
           “They read fans’ live comments,
        chat with fans, and play games de-
        signed for interaction with fans when                                ”
        live streaming. I feel like I am a close
        friend of theirs,” the Year Two univer-  ly RMB ¥1,500 (US $235) from his  other fan groups. And here comes the
        sity student says.                  pocket money on buying animation  Qinglang campaign to regulate them.
           Debuted on December 11, 2020,    merchandises including a fan-made  I feel lucky to be in a harmonious and
        A-SOUL is a virtual girl group created   doll and virtual presents on BiliBili.   peaceful fan community,” he adds.
        by Yuehua Entertainment and techno-    Recognising himself as an anima-   The Qinglang campaign was intro-
        logically  assisted by  ByteDance.  The   tion, comics, and games (ACG) lover,  duced by the Cyberspace Administra-
        group has five members, who are Ava,   Li pays very little attention to real  tion of China in June to regulate “cha-
        Bella, Carol, Diana, and Eileen.    Chinese stars. He says A-SOUL is his  otic” online fan club activities.
           The virtual girl group has 288,000   first and only idol.              Apart from A-SOUL, a new wave
        fans on BiliBili. Their latest single Su-  “If A-SOUL were real human be-  of China-born virtual stars is emerg-
        per Sensitive was released on May 1,   ings, I probably would not have be-  ing, such as Yousa from BiliBili or
        2021,and it received over 4 million   come their fan,” Li says.         Xing Tong (星瞳), a virtual idol from
        views and 156,000 likes on BiliBili as   “Real idols’ fan groups are too al-  Tencent.
        of December 6, 2021.                ienating. For  example,  raising funds   Virtual idols can be roughly di-
           Though  Li  is  a  student  with  no   through personal channels, voting  vided into two categories, both using
        income, he has spent approximate-   from day to night, and battling with  avatars as performance fronts. One is

                  A-SOUL is a virtual idol group with five members (Photo Courtesy of A-SOUL’s official Weibo account)
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