Chinese Social Media Influencer Faces Backlash Over AI Course Sales Controversy

Recently, a Chinese social media influencer self-proclaimed as a Ph.D. from Tsinghua University, “Li Yizhou,” made headlines on the internet for reportedly earning up to 50 million yuan by selling AI courses. However, both Li Yizhou himself and his AI courses have faced scrutiny.

According to reports from relevant media sources, as of now, the WeChat mini-program “Yizhou Yike” used by Li Yizhou to sell AI courses has been suspended for violating the “Interim Provisions on the Development of Public Information Services for Instant Messaging Tools.” Additionally, Li Yizhou’s artificial intelligence courses have been removed from display in the WeChat video account showcase. On the WeChat mini-program “Everyone’s AI Course,” the courses are now inaccessible. Furthermore, Li Yizhou’s personal video account has been banned from followers.

Data platforms indicate that Li Yizhou’s AI course “Everyone’s AI Course” sold approximately 250,000 sets within a year, generating sales of around 50 million yuan. The original price of the course was 999 yuan, reduced to 199 yuan. Li Yizhou has over 5 million fans across various online platforms and claims to hold a Ph.D. from Tsinghua University, as well as being the founder of three technology companies that have received millions in funding. He is said to excel in solving issues related to AI, business models, knowledge IP, and traffic.

Public information reveals that Li Yizhou obtained his Ph.D. from the Industrial Design and Design Innovation Methods program at Tsinghua University’s School of Art and Design Strategy and Prototype Innovation Research Institute. He completed his undergraduate and master’s studies at the School of Design and Arts at Hunan University. Before selling courses, Li Yizhou was involved in three entrepreneurial projects, including the “Magic Mirror” app, the “Weimi” app, and 12sleep Chiwu Technology. The “Magic Mirror” app allowed users to give voice commands to the mirror to function as a “camera”; “Weimi” treated the individual as a conductor, calculating the saturation of the skin’s keratin layer on the phone screen to recommend suitable skincare products for the day; and 12sleep Chiwu Technology is a provider of intelligent sleep solutions, with previous products entering Xiaomi‘s ecosystem.

According to Tianyancha information, Li Yizhou currently serves as the legal representative, executive, and shareholder of only two companies: Beijing Chiwu Technology Co., Ltd. and Beijing Yige Technology Co., Ltd. Chiwu Technology was established in 2014 and completed three rounds of financing from 2014 to 2016, with investors including Qidi Xing and Probe Investment. Beijing Yige Technology Co., Ltd. is positioned as a Nordic-style original home design brand, founded in 2017, and completed two rounds of financing in 2018, with investors including Red Electric Factory and Shangshi Capital.

While Li Yizhou has entrepreneurial experience, his direct association with the AI field is not as close. Initially, his AI courses attracted many buyers, but user feedback has not been positive. According to Lanjing Finance, a student who purchased the course remarked, “I finished over 30 AI classes here in two days, and the most immediate feeling after finishing is wanting a refund.”

On February 21st, in response to doubts raised by netizens about his AI training courses, Li Yizhou replied, “I am organizing the corresponding content, and the situation has been misunderstood and exaggerated.” Currently, Li Yizhou’s AI courses have been taken down, and the mini-program has been suspended.

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