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Greek twins make a mark in livestreaming

China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-25 07:42

Carving your own niche in a thriving industry in a foreign country is no mean feat, especially if it is China's booming livestreaming industry.

China is home to prominent online celebrities such as Angelababy, while millions of Chinese people broadcast their daily lives in real time, making small fortunes in the process.

But Greek twin sisters Marianna and Sofia Erotokritou have slowly been making a name for themselves in this online world, acting as virtual ambassadors for their home in their adopted country.

Like most others who break into the industry, Marianna and Sofia stumbled upon livestreaming by chance. When they first decided to upload videos of themselves, little did they realize that they would find such a receptive audience in China.

In the beginning, the sisters uploaded short videos in Mandarin about popular spots in Beijing they visited-such as Nanluogu Xiang and Sanlitun-introducing the food they tasted. To their surprise, they received hundreds of positive comments online and more livestreaming requests from their fans.

Since then, their regular broadcasts on NetEase platforms are eagerly lapped up by audiences keen to understand the finer nuances that link the two countries. Be it food, fashion, theater, or even aspects that cover their daily lives, the sisters have managed to be a cultural connection point in their own unique way.

They have become known for livestreaming themselves strolling among white houses with blue domes on the island of Santorini, surrounded by the Aegean Sea; tasting traditional stuffed Greek pies at Monastiaraki Square in the capital Athens; and riding a tandem bicycle on the ancient city walls of Xi'an in Northwest China's Shaanxi province.

Although the attention they receive from Chinese netizens is positive, the sisters maintain that none of it would have been possible but for their excellent command of Mandarin and their in-depth knowledge about Chinese culture.

Marianna and Sofia said that they did not realize their father's numerous stories about China from his numerous business trips would one day be their ticket to fame and fortune.

"China seems to be a very mysterious country, just like Greece," said Sofia, the younger sister by one minute. "We wanted to explore and feel this historical country in person, so we decided to study in Beijing."

Marianna and Sofia joined Beijing's University of International Business and Economics in 2014, majoring in international economics and trade. Although they are still in their fourth year of studies, they have already started to earn their own money thanks to social media.

The two do not earn much through livestreaming, as their main purpose is to promote both countries' cultures.

During each of their live shows, the two gain rewards and encouragement from netizens, helping them to explore and travel more widely both in China and Greece. Meanwhile, they are also being noticed by both Chinese and Greek merchants, who invite them to try their food and promote their products.

Last year, Marianna and Sofia were invited to introduce Greek culture on Kai Jiang La, an educational talk show aimed at younger viewers of CCTV-1, China Central Television's flagship channel. The experience inspired them to teach Greek on their own show.

"Our business is not only about the financial benefit, but mainly to provide a platform for Sino-Greek communication and understanding under the Belt and Road Initiative," said Marianna. "We hope our videos can encourage more people from China and Greece to become closer."

Han Jingyan contributed to this story.

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