No one will take care of you better than you do. So our current heroine – Yu Ping – decided it was time to take life in her hands, and at the same time help the millions of other women in China to do the same. She has created a communication platform with a variety of topics for middle-class women throughout China, to understand how they live and bring them to social life.

 

Let’s Get Acquainted

Yu Ping, known by her pen name, Yu Kunkun, a real professional journalist. She has written for Sanlian Life Week, a prominent magazine for China’s elite, and for GQ’s Chinese edition. In 2014 she worked as deputy editor of culture of The New York Times‘ Chinese website. By the time she worked in the world of fashion and lifestyle for about 13 years. Around the end of 2014 her attention was attracted by the idea that while all financial stories and investigative reports are written, as the rule, by professional and well-trained journalists, lifestyle and fashion could be done just as well by non-professionals. Yu said, that always has had the feeling like she was doing different from political writers and investigative reporters work. This gap gave her a power to start a new media product and to become a part of «WeMedia». [«WeMedia» – a buzzword based on the Chinese zi meiti, or «self media». The term refers to content produced by those who operate outside of the traditional media framework].

 

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Ling Long

A social media platform for dialogue among women became her brainchild. Boasting a website, a mobile app, and a public WeChat account, the platform, called «Ling Long», gives some 100 million female users an online forum for discussions and debates. There are no restrictions on the subjects: raising children, job search, beauty tips and so on. Yu’s target audience is middle-class women, whose incomes range generally from around 10,000 to 30,000 yuan. More than 80 percent of Ling Long’s users are city-dwelling, college-educated women aged 22 to 32. Interestingly, the name Ling Long is taken from the eponymous Chinese magazine, produced in 1930s particularly for upper-class ladies in Shanghai and which cultivated some of China’s first feminists. Yu found that the subjects women cared about then are the same as they care about today.

The site has three main sections; a culture and entertainment; a lifestyle (travel, dining, and fashion); a discussion board – called sanguan, or «three views» – for sharing general thoughts and opinions. According to Yu, exactly the third section sets Ling Long apart from other online communities for women. As we mentioned, there are no restrictions on topics. Users are able to speak about things from the LGBT community, to gender equality, to feminism. However, Yu noted that women appear not to care much for politics, what is not unexpected: «When women get together, they don’t tend to talk about politics». But the most active and hot forums are about self-improvement, consumerism as an integral to the Chinese identity, Hillary Clinton case. «Being a middle-class woman is not all about the emotional and the material. It’s also about social issues,» – said Yu.

 

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Future Plans

Despite the fact that sanguan is the most successful and prosperous, Yu has no plans to commercialize this section. And without sanguan, Ling Long would be missing a vital element needed to engage this audience. «So if I don’t create a sanguan section, then Ling Long won’t address middle-class needs».

As for the platform as a whole, Yu has no timetable for turning a profit at the moment. But she makes experiments with various business models. For example, by introducing products and features that match closely with users’ tastes and interests, Ling Long will emerge as a “social shopping” force in China. Discussion among women can promote word-of-mouth referrals, further boosting sales. In fact, the Ling Long situation is better than it seems. A commercial proposition has raised tens of millions of yuan in two rounds of fundraising in 2014 and 2015. Even its investors – venture capital firms IDG Capital Partners and China Growth Capital – are confident about Ling Long’s user content as a start for business.

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