Tarot cards divination is ancient in West and is a “virtual product service”, through the cards of the subconscious imagery, the answer to the image, and then through the diviner to interpret the meaning of the diviner to convey, in favor of spiritual divination but also at almost no cost.
According to incomplete statistics, so far, there are many people with a tarot monthly income of tens of thousands of yuan, or even more than 100,000 yuan, stifling a great fortune.
In Chinese culture, “Ask the Eight Characters when a big event occurs, ask the Tarot when a small event occurs, and ask the Horoscope when nothing happens”. And since 2014, nearly 40 Chinese companies related to the business of “fortune telling, divination, and Feng Shui” have received venture capital.
Industry insiders have estimated that of the 1.4 billion people in China, 45% are aged 16–50, and 16% of them are willing to pay. If the average annual minimum consumption is 1,000 RMB, China’s divination market will have a market potential of 100 billion RMB.
According to a survey conducted by the China Youth Daily Social Survey Center on 2033 respondents, 70.3% of the respondents said that there are many people around them who like astrology culture, 16% of them feel very strongly about it, and nearly 20% of them will use divination to decide their schedules, career planning, marriage, and dating decisions.
The Tarot Cards Divination In China
Do young people in China really believe in metaphysics? Actually, no. Some of the young people who love metaphysics do so for entertainment purposes. Another part is due to urgent emotional demands and psychological anxiety. For the latter, the ultimate purpose of metaphysical consumption is to put emotion and anxiety aside.
Uncle’s Friends is arguably one of the most well-known astrology bloggers in China. It has received investments from several top institutions, such as Sequoia Capital China and CDF Capital.
And in 2016, the listed company Meisheng Cultural and Creative Corp., Ltd., acquired 72.5% of Uncle’s Friends for a RMB 217.5 million shareholding. Today, Uncle’s Friends has over 17 million Weibo followers.
The Cece Xingzuo App (the global version is called Lingomate App) belongs to Beijing Lituohfeiyuan Technology Co., Ltd.
From the official website, the company focuses on psychology and combines it with e-commerce, fitness, education, and other fields at the same time. It is committed to becoming the first platform in China’s psychological and emotional services market.
Cece received a strategic investment from Tencent in February 2021. And before that, it received an angel round of funding from Unity Ventures in 2013 and an A round of funding of 19.2 million RMB from Baihe.com in 2017. Tencent’s stake, to a certain extent, can also be said to have added fire to the divination and fortune-telling track.
Currently, Cece Xingzuo App has a monthly transaction flow of nearly 10 million RMB in China and has been profitable for three consecutive years since 2016, with a staggering 300% revenue growth rate, which shows its commercial value.
In addition to personal consultation, the Cece Xingzuo App has more than a dozen general reports that can be unlocked for a fee, with a single download price of about 50 RMB. Among them, the Karma report has over 200,000 people unlocked. There are paid courses on the platform that are also priced within 100 RMB per unit, and all have over 10,000 hits.
Metaphysical add-ons such as crystals, bracelets, and tarot decks are also hung in its merchandise window, and these products are generally not inexpensive. Acelion is the largest tarot manufacturer brand in China and has been engaged in tarot R&D and production for the seventh year.
The majority of its customers are diviners, healers, or designers, and there are also many Chinese distributors who are exporters. According to its description, a standard deck of 78 tarot cards may cost between 30 and 250 RMB but can sell for anywhere from 100 to 500 RMB at licensed retail outlets.
Besides, several Chinese metaphysical startups such as Xing Zhidao, Zhanxin (Soul Reader), Lan Xingman and Taotao Xi have received millions of RMB, or even tens of millions of RMB, in financing.
Only after 2021, especially with the successive collapses of Shengun Ju and AI fortune-telling, did investment institutions gradually realize the uncertainty of the Chinese divination track, and the investment is cooling down day by day.
The difficulty of doing business stems from the tightening of China’s platform policy on the one hand and the dilemma of metaphysics itself on the other. Tarot divination, for example, makes ambiguous claims about the future that are difficult to falsify and difficult to prove.
And astrology is widely questioned because of the “survivorship bias” and the “Barnum effect”. The overly general descriptions are inevitably mocked by users who say, “This is not a characteristic of a particular constellation; this is a common human characteristic”.
Nowadays, although most of the metaphysical stores have been taken down from China’s e-commerce platforms, there are still people peddling this service in the hidden corners of the Internet. In astrology apps, the service has been rebranded as emotional counseling, and the fortune-tellers are not called fortune-tellers, but experts.
Apparently, although the heat on the surface has diminished, the Chinese metaphysical business has not yet cooled off.