Herald Exclusive: It’s Official — Anshe Chung is a Millionaire! [Updated]

by Urizenus Sklar on 24/11/06 at 9:37 pm

Anshe Chung spun $10 into $1,000,000 in two and a half years.

AnsheAccording to Second Life resident Anshe Chung , tomorrow she will issue a press release officially announcing that she has accumulated the equivalent of over one million US dollars in assets in Second Life. The bulk of these assets are in Anshe’s virtual real estate holdings, which now include 550 simulators supporting the equivalent of 36 square kilometers of land. In addition, her virtual assets include stock in virtual corporations in Second Life, several million Linden Dollars, shopping centers and other assets. The figure does not include the assets of her real life spin-off corporation, Anshe Chung Studios.

What makes this achievement so impressive is the fact that Anshe accumulated her fortune in a mere 30 months, starting with an initial investment of $9.95 — her Second Life subscription fee.

Anshe Chung Studios recently opened a new office in Wuhan, China, where it employs 25 people and there are plans to expand it to 50 employees. ACS is a Second Life development company, offering the development of immersive 3D environments for corporate customers. This sets up some very interesting battles between Anshe and development corporations such as The Electric Sheep Company, Aimee Weber Studios, Millions of Us, and Infinite Vision Media. For the most part ACS has been an outsider — not a favorite of Linden Lab. With Anshe’s assets and her new offices in China as well as her deep role in the history and culture of Second Life she should be a formidable competitor to the Linden-blessed development companies.

[Updated, Nov. 25] The Press Release has been made public now. I’ve reprined it below the fold.

Anshe Chung Becomes First Virtual World Millionaire

Parlays $10 investment into million dollar corporation in 30 months

Plush City @ Second Life and Wuhan, China @ Real Life 26-Nov-2006

Anshe Chung has become the first online personality to achieve a net worth exceeding one million US dollars from profits entirely earned inside a virtual world.

Recently featured on the cover of Business Week Magazine, Anshe Chung is a resident in the virtual world Second Life. Inside Second Life, Anshe buys and develops virtual real-estate in an official currency, known as Linden Dollars, which is convertible to US Dollars. There is also a liquid market in virtual real estate, making it possible to assess the value of her total holdings using publicly available statistics.

The fortune Anshe Chung commands in Second Life includes virtual real estate that is equivalent to 36 square kilometers of land – this property is supported by 550 servers or land “simulators”. In addition to her virtual real estate holdings, Anshe has “cash” holdings of several million Linden Dollars, several virtual shopping malls, virtual store chains, and she has established several virtual brands in Second Life. She also has significant virtual stock market investments in Second Life companies.

Anshe Chung’s achievement is all the more remarkable because the fortune was developed over a period of two and a half years from an initial investment of $9.95 for a Second Life account by Anshe’s creator, Ailin Graef. Anshe/Ailin achieved her fortune by beginning with small scale purchases of virtual real estate which she then subdivided and developed with landscaping and themed architectural builds for rental and resale. Her operations have since grown to include the development and sale of properties for large scale real world corporations, and have led to a real life “spin off” corporation called Anshe Chung Studios, which develops immersive 3D environments for applications ranging from education to business conferencing and product prototyping.

Ailin Graef was born and raised in Hubei, China, but is currently a citizen of Germany. She runs Anshe Chung Studios with her husband Guntram Graef, who serves as CEO of the company. Anshe Chung Studios has offices in Wuhan, China and is currently seeking to expand its workforce from 25 to 50. (Pictures of the Wuhan offices are available here).

The valuation of the virtual land holdings is based on property value statistics published by Linden Lab and current simulator prices. Based on these statistics a valuation of one million dollars in virtual assets is conservative, and the actual value may be significantly higher.

This estimate only includes the valuation of the avatar Anshe Chung’s virtual assets at current market rates. It does not include the real world assets of Anshe Chung Studios. It also does not include any valuation based on expected revenue, expected profits or any other intangible business equity (such as brand value or good will). It does not include assets owned in other virtual worlds such as IMVU, There or Entropia Universe.

Anshe Chung and Anshe Chung Studios are independent and not affiliated with other entities such as virtual world platform operators or marketing firms. Anshe Chung Studios is fully owned by Anshe Chung’s creator and her partner and has been wholly financed from virtual world profits.

Above all, Anshe Chung stresses the importance of community in her vision of the virtual worlds and work spaces that she and others are pioneering together. Her goal is not merely to build a corporation, but to foster the development and growth of online communities, and to help make the entry of real world corporations into Second Life and other regions of the metaverse as frictionless as possible. It is her philosophy that Second Life is above all a social space, and that corporate entrants that respect the community will be the most successful.

Anshe Chung will be available to answer questions by the media on a press conference in Mengjing @ Second Life scheduled for Tuesday 28th November at 9 am PST. For special media inquiries please contact media@anshechung.com. Please understand that Anshe Chung Studios is in a phase of rapid growth and that ACS will have to prioritize media requests.

27 Responses to “Herald Exclusive: It’s Official — Anshe Chung is a Millionaire! [Updated]”

  1. Fiend Ludwig

    Nov 24th, 2006

    Holy crap!

  2. tp

    Nov 24th, 2006

    She’s a goddess to goldfarming teens everywhere!

  3. tp

    Nov 25th, 2006

    The real story is if she decided to give up on all the virtual assets how she could crash the SL economy into a black hole of doom. Imagine if she decided to attempt to liquidate the land holdings alone. There are not enough RL buyers of SL currency to even begin to buy her holdings, so it’s a bogus number in a perfect world.
    In reality she’s a virtual trailor park landowner, gathering monthly fee’s from a few mom and dads who would rather not invest in virtual tier fee’s. If enough people jumped ship on her land holdings, and she attempted to sell of the land with her tier fee’s it would crash the $L and probably not recover.

    She rents servers and resells them basically. If she stopped paying from the profit she makes to maintain them the business would crash.
    She could never realistially liquidate a million dollars because nobody would buy that much. It’s a bogus number based on a perfect world of enough buyers which there aren’t enough of.

  4. Nobody Fugazi

    Nov 25th, 2006

    Yeah, it’s a bogus number. She’s worth to be much to be worth that much. She couldn’t sell all her assets if she wanted to. Paper millionaires abound. But it’s not really her, is it? It’s her *company*. Her real life *company*. So her company owns the assets and her company is worth $1 million US on paper. Find a bank to cash the IOU.

  5. ouchquack

    Nov 25th, 2006

    Hey, I bought a membership for $9.95… how much am I worth?

  6. Random Writer

    Nov 25th, 2006

    While sure, it’s possible to argue that her assets are in paper, virtual and if she tried to sell it wouldn’t possibly sell all that fast.

    HOWEVER, one thing you must remember is WORTH, not viability. Majority of companies go on worth when reporting. They can claim things such as a staff member’s wages. They don’t own that member, but that member is worth something to them. They also include outside stockholders money as worth. Those are both based on public perception of value given to that particular thing.

    You think if Wal-Mart or a place like that that’s family owned would sell instantly if all it’s merchandise was put up for sale, all the locations, all the buildings, all the stock, etc.? More than likely, no. But the stores still carry a value.

  7. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 25th, 2006

    The operative thing to remember here is that Anshe’s assets may be tied up, but only on a revolving cycle — she keeps buying land on the auction, chopping it, selling it, freeing up the tier, buying liquidated land, selling it, lather, rinse, repeat — so while sure, at any one snapshot in time, her assets may be tied up and unable to be instantly realized as cash on the mainland, day after day, she turns over these assets and makes a profit out of them which she does cash out, and uses the profits both to grow her business and buy more sims, but also pay employees and sustain her RL costs.

    To be sure, she can’t sell and cash out her islands…except she does. There is a constant turnover of people coming in, buying, vacating, selling, new tenants.

    I’ve written more about “The Anshe Chung Miracle” in my blog here:

  8. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 25th, 2006

    >Yeah, it’s a bogus number. She’s worth to be much to be worth that much. She couldn’t sell all her assets if she wanted to. Paper millionaires abound. But it’s not really her, is it? It’s her *company*. Her real life *company*. So her company owns the assets and her company is worth $1 million US on paper. Find a bank to cash the IOU.

    Ummm…and YOU are an expert on capitalism and companies? Hello? With your constant espousing of socialist views?

    What’s bogus about it? It’s no more bogus than anything in SL — including whatever the hell is it YOU are selling (mainly your bogus blog with its daily outpourings exceeding even my verbose offerings?)

    She can and does sell these assets daily, as I’ve just explained. There is a constant flow of buying and selling of auction sims and liquidations, and a cashing out. She could stop there, and just keep collecting rent and coining money and making a huge profit. But she choses to grow the business — in part volume is the only thing that can tide you through all the troughs of SL, ranging from Wed. downtime to grid crashes to new features that break old and new surprises like CopyBot. She couldn’t grow that business to the doubling it has seen even in the last few months if it weren’t for actual cash US dollar money being obtained from it.

    The Lindens only sell their islands and mainland auction sims for US dollars. Those dollars come from somewhere; for Anshe, they come from the many facets of her SL business.

    Anshe has always been more about her account than the business. The business with employees is something that has really only gradually appeared in the last year. And compared to RL companies, it is small, yet paradoxically has more assets; it can have less staff than a RL real estate or rentals company because not as much labour is required to handle virtual estates.

    The Lindens haven’t indicated that they won’t stop their LindEx that enables some residents to buy other residents’ Lindens and pay dollars. So as long as the LindEx is open, and there seems no reason to close it in any forseeable future, Anshe’s assets are good.

    I don’t see what is “paper” about Anshe’s assets — any more than anything on the Internet is “paper”. Companies that sell server space, that let you make your own website; companies like the TypePad people — do you call them owners of paper assets? Of course not. So it’s no different.

    This hateful, belligerent attitude toward business and capitalism (except of course your own) is easily exposed for what it is: an old fashioned parochial socialist view from the 19th century. Get over it.

  9. Hiro Pendragon

    Nov 25th, 2006

    Gratz to Anshe and Guni! They seem to be genuinely decent people, for all the criticism they get.

    I doubt it sets up “battles” between developers. We’re a fairly supportive community that communicates with one another and works on common overall goals. There’s also just too much work out there right now to think about us “battling” for jobs. :)

  10. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 25th, 2006

    I doubt it sets up “battles” between developers. We’re a fairly supportive community that communicates with one another and works on common overall goals. There’s also just too much work out there right now to think about us “battling” for jobs. :)

    What utter, self-serving horseshit, Hiro. I hope developers DO battle because that might make some of them clean up their acts more and serve the public more on basic things like supplying the URL for music events or even just radio events if their “lawyers” are too reluctant to share.

    There isn’t THAT much work that you can afford to take this fake attitude, Hiro, and you know it. It may not last. And sometimes the sniping among you gets pretty nasty, as we’ve seen on 3pointd with that “Missed Opportunity” post and even the reaction to Jimmy Z happening here.

  11. What id like to know is what virtual company stock she had and how do i get some and where does it trade?

    Can someone send me an email@
    admin at 2ndlifeforum.com

    thanks for the help

  12. Hiro Queso

    Nov 25th, 2006

    You don’t even need to debate whether sims are virtual assets or not. If they are not, they’re not. If they are, those very same definitions that do state AC owns assets by leasing from LL can also be applied to another fact that we are missing: She has sold many of her ‘assets’ to residents. I’ll have to find a link when I have more time, but in one of her FAQ on her estate purchases a while back, she states that if she should liquidate at any point, residents will receive a payment from the sim sale that is proportional to the size of the plot they ‘own’. I think AC would be wise to not make such an announcement, the publicity wouldn’t be worth rattling the cages of her residents.

  13. Chavo Polonsky

    Nov 25th, 2006


    Isn’t the notion that business owners must “serve the public” something of a “parochial socialist view from the 19th century” as well?


  14. Across the Sound

    Nov 25th, 2006

    Across the Sound New Marketing Podcast Episode 64 – with Professor Peter Ludlow AKA Urizenus Sklar

    My guest today is Professor Peter Ludlow, A.K.A. Urizenus Sklar, publisher of Second Life Herald. Peter is a professor in the philosophy and linguistics departments at the University of Michigan. Audio comments to 1 206 203-3255 or acrossthesound@gmai…

  15. bluesapphire

    Nov 25th, 2006

    I think you need to relook at this, Anshe has had some serious investment. This is not a ‘$9.95′ investment, Uzi your living in a fantasy. You seem to be drinking the cool-aid of the PR – sucker!. Also how things change. Anshe seems twee now, almost harmless.

    I’m sure Anshe&Guni will take comfort in your kind words Hiro, I seem to remember a very different attitude not so long ago.

    Will she been seen as the ‘golden days’ of Second Life, or was that one of the services she offered as a cyber-whore in her SW:G days?

  16. Nobody Fugazi

    Nov 25th, 2006

    Prok, you’re quick to start calling people socialists. I wonder – why? Is anyone who disagrees with you a socialist? You’re an amusing person. You like labeling people. You like control, you like that feeling of power. You’re as transparent as they come. That is your level, and it suits you. However, it doesn’t suit me. Go play McCarthy somewhere else. That is your era, after all.

    The facts remain that Anshe is a top advertiser here, this was a shameless advertorial, and there’s still no press release. In China, Saturday is done.

  17. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 25th, 2006

    Nobody, I need to start “Nobody Watch” and answer every post you clog up Planet SL with daily (sometimes 2!) with your ideology. No, it’s not that people who disagree with me are socialists; I disagree with people because they *are* socialists and hate being diagnosed and labeled. They think to constantly pose as in the mainstream, and if they post enough (probably twice as much as me, and everyone knows how verbose I am!) then they will not appear as the sectarians they are. I like to call them on it. You haven’t addressed the substance of anything I’ve said hear about Anshe — you claim her millions are paper but don’t address the larger challenge to your concept, that would imply all Internet things are pretty much “paper”.

    I don’t “like control” — but YOU do, with you hectoring posts. Perhaps, like many opinionated tekkies on here, you have never heard “no” or “I object” in your lifetime, having dominated your little circle. This has nothing to do with “McCarthy” — if anything, it is preventing the McCarthy in you from dominating.

    So what if Anshe is an advertiser? In fact, anyone can advertise here — I’ve advertised here, many people have — Iron Perth comes to mind, for example. YOU could advertise. In fact, the advertising here is a lot freer than say, Hamlet’s blog, from which I’m banned, and therefore couldn’t advertise.

    Chavo, the idea that corporations should be socially responsible comes more from morality and religion than the political and economic ideology of socialism.

    The stock company is likely Cyberland on the Metaverse Stock Exchange, but there are others I think now — this is one that has already been around for awhile and returned dividends a number of times:

    Hiro, the problem of having “sold” islands is no differnt than the problem of the Lindens having “sold” their sims, and frankly, I wonder who would give us a better compensation when they folded, Anshe or LL. At least Anshe is on the record as saying that she would compensate in the event of liquidation; LL is not.

  18. Hiro Queso

    Nov 25th, 2006

    Prok: But that’s my point. If you consider those sims to be assets in the first place, then would you consider them to be assets belonging to Anshe, or to the residents that have purchased land on those sims?

  19. Korn Colonel

    Nov 25th, 2006

    I’d be interested to know how a stock exchange would work in SL. Any ideas on how this would even work?

  20. urizenus

    Nov 25th, 2006

    Press release is out now. I’ve updated this entry and posted Anshe’s full press release below the fold.

  21. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 26th, 2006

    I think that the situation with Anshe’s islands is that she is the primary owner, and they are her asset, and she rents them for some people by emulating a deed of ownership, which she honours. When they leave, they sell their land, sometimes back to her, more often to another resident. Does a landlord who own a building in a city consider that he has a building worth X minus Y for all the leases? Would it be different if they were all co-ops? I don’t think so. I think it’s a property that has X revenue coming out of it, that is also valued at Y. I’m not an expert on real estate, I only play one on TV.

    Korn, you have to read up on Cyberland and Google it and such to get the answers to that question.

    I’m glad she got the press release out so that Nobody Fugazi can end his nagging rant about how this story anticipating the press release is some kind of “advertorial,” and implying there will never be a press release. That was truly lame!

  22. Urizenus

    Nov 26th, 2006

    Seriously, what was Nobody Fugazi thinking? Are fake announcements of forthcoming press releases a new marketing strategy and I missed out on the trend?

    I guess I have lots of questions for Anshe. Like for example are the simulators that she owns automatically replaced by the Lindens if they go down? (like mine is, for example). If not, then she should be ammortizing the assets. If yes, then I wonder if she has a special contract with the Lindens preventing them from doing a Bragg on her and seizing her assets “for any reason or no reason.”

  23. Michael Seraph

    Nov 26th, 2006

    Congratulations to Anshe and Gunni.

    They created something people wanted and made money doing it. That’s not easy in RL or SL.

    The charge that she isn’t really a millionaire because she couldn’t cash everything out immediately is absurd and juvenile. It’s absurd because net worth is measured in assets, which includes cash, securities, stock, real estate, equipment and anything else you own that has a value on paper. It’s juvenile because grown-ups don’t whine about the successes of others.

  24. Urizenus

    Nov 26th, 2006

    I do.

  25. Urizenus

    Nov 26th, 2006

    Meanwhile there is a brief interview with Anshe by our friend Ren Reynolds and some discussion of this over on Terra Nova:


  26. China Gold Farmer

    Nov 30th, 2006

    Read “One Billion Customers: Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China” and know what Anshe Chung really thinks… of doing business with YOU. Apparently, as witnessed by many, lying to do business, is good business.

  27. Evelyn

    Jan 4th, 2007

    Does anyone know how to play imvu second life without downloading it

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