The hidden world of Chinese livestreaming app Inke

Recently I saw a guy filming himself with his phone while crossing the street in China. It seemed like he was Facetiming with a friend. But he was actually doing a livestream, an extremely popular hobby for young people in China.

China is way ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to embracing livestreams. My Chinese friends regularly recommend livestream channels or accounts or ask me to livestream on popular platforms there. I didn’t know how hot it was until I registered an account on Inke, one of the leading sites.

But what makes the crazy social media app (according to Western standards) Inke stand out from other platforms and how does it actually work? Well, read on and find out.

Broad content

Inke is perhaps best described as an advanced combination of Twitch and live.ly, where a wide range of content, from Let’s Play videos to talent clips to random chit-chat can be found. Sounds amazing, right?

Low entry barrier

Inke’s philosophy is that anyone can livestream opening the door wide for amateurs of all kinds.Which basically means that any regular user has the potential of making a name for him/herself on the platform.

Battle mode

Now here’s maybe where Inke starts to differ from the social media platforms Westerners are used to. The battle mode, which is also known as “PK mode” in China, allows streamers and viewers to ‘battle’ — and Inke is the first livestreaming app to include this mode. PK mode randomly matches up two streamers who agree on the battle rules and then have seven minutes to challenge each other.

Some have serious singing competitions or dance-offs while others see who can shake their shoulders the best or who can hold a pen with their upper lip the longest. They also agree on the punishment for the loser, such as doing push-ups, doodling on their face, or whatever.

Viewers comment and send virtual gifts to their favorite streamer, who often responds to the top contributors. The scores of the two rivals change in real-time at the bar on top, depending on the value of virtual gifts they receive and at the end, there are 90 seconds of ‘punishment time.’

It’s quite random and chaotic content, but some of it is pretty funny and clearly popular among Chinese people, as plenty of people are actually willing to pay to watch it.