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Chinese App Allows Celebrities to Sell Their Time by the Second, Fans to Buy It and Investors to Trade It

A new Chinese app called Miao A or “Seconds” allows celebrities and socialites to sell their time to fans, by the second. The unusual service has recently come under scrutiny, however, as investors are also able to buy and trade celebrity time, causing the app to operate as an illegal stock exchange.

The Beijing-based app describes itself as the first time-trading platform that helps fans get access to their favorite celebs. The company buys time in bulk from stars or their agents and then sells it in one-second packets to the public. The platform charges a 3% service fee on all exchanges, and all transactions managed through the Chinese online payment platform NetEase. An average month sees an exchange of 300 to 400 million yuan ($45-60 million) worth of celebrities’ time.

Photo: Miao A screenshot

China’s growing fan economy is the primary driver of Miao A, as every second can be cashed in for celebrity interactions. The available content includes online chat, voice, social media replies, video recordings and even face to face meetings.

For example, buying one second of your favorite celebrity’s time gets you one line in a text-based chat with them. A live voice or video call costs at least 600 seconds, while scheduling a real-life meeting with your idol requires the purchase of at least 7,200 seconds. According to a counter on the Miao A homepage, over 3 million celebrity seconds have been purchased so far.

Over 500 celebrities are featured on the app, including actors, models, show hosts, musicians, athletes, and even a professional “League of Legends” female gamer, who offers fans a chance to play with her. An Olympic speed skater offers skating lessons, and famous entrepreneurs offer business advice and consultations. Zhang Yuan, the lead singer of the popular Mandopop boy band “Top Combine” offers personal recordings to be used as ringtones or smartphone alarms. One fan commented on his Seconds profile, writing, “My little sister is super happy, thank you, kind Zhang Yuan!”

Photo: Miao A screenshot

Fans can also choose to trade their celebrity seconds in an open exchange similar to a stock market, with trading hours set from Monday to Saturday. It is this aspect of the app that has raised concern among legal experts. Despite having government approval, the app harbors financial risk for users, as if a transaction collapses investors can lose everything. Liu Xinyu, an attorney at Dentons Law Offices in Shanghai, told The Paper that “time” is not a tradeable commodity and that by doing so the app is violating regulations for stock exchanges.

Representatives of the app have responded to concerns, saying that they had introduced further measures to manage the burgeoning market, such as capping the maximum percentage that a second’s price can increase from its starting price.

Despite the critical media coverage, many commentators, and users were impressed by Miao A and the opportunities it provides for loyal fans.

Photo: Miao A screenshot

“This trading platform is too awesome,” one reader wrote on The Paper website, while another commented, “Well, time is money.”

via Sixth Tone

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