The kings of YouTube in 2021.. How did a 10-year-old kid reap the platform’s biggest profits for 4 consecutive years?

“To humans, Ryan Kaji is just a 10-year-old. In terms of YouTube views, he’s about 49 billion views. If you measure the lives of one of us by the impact he makes on the Internet, everyone knows Ryan would be huge. Another way to describe it, if he were to spend Every visitor to Ryan’s YouTube channel only has 30 seconds to browse his videos, which means that Ryan has been seen for more than 4,500 times his entire life.”

(Blinda Loscombe, Time editor)

Luan Guan, a chemistry and science teacher in a city in the US state of Texas, woke up early as usual on that day in March of 2015, despite having a family vacation granted by the school to follow up on her young son, “Ryan” who is 3 and a half years old. , with the aim of helping him explore some of the activities that enhance his talents at this age.

That day, while she was making some coffee, the little boy excitedly told her that he wanted to make videos for the kids on YouTube. The surprised mother asked him about the reason for this interest, and he told her that he had seen other children of his age making interesting videos on YouTube, and that he was excited to present some of these videos; He even shows his new toys that his family bought him. Then he asked her with the innocence of the children: How can I not be on YouTube when all the other children are on it?

Fortunately, Luan and her husband, Shion, who are Americans of Japanese and Vietnamese descent, were very passionate about YouTube, and studied how its algorithms worked while they were both in college. Therefore, the parents decided to take the enthusiasm of their young son seriously, and devote some time to fulfill his desire to launch a YouTube channel specialized in providing children’s content, and the hero of this channel is their four-year-old child. (1)

Surely it never came to their mind that after a few years this simple approval would turn into an annual income of $30 million, and that their young son, who just wanted to have some fun, would become the undisputed “Superstar” of YouTube, and at the top of the list of people with the highest income from YouTube. around the world.

child playing

In the summer of 2015, Ryan, with the help of his parents, began producing his first YouTube video. The first video was titled “A Kid Plays Lego to Make a Train,” a simple title for a traditional game video, in which Ryan plays in a funny way, and it is remarkable that the video achieved a good number. Of the views for the children’s channel is still in the beginning of its launch with minimal possibilities.

This encouraging start prompted both Ryan and his parents to keep making more clips in the same way: Ryan playing in front of the camera, his parents filming him playing while working on some simple and funny montage for each episode. With continuous production, and an increase in views, and with the advent of July of the same year, the huge explosion occurred.

One of the videos, specifically the 33rd video, titled “McQueen’s Giant Egg” received a massive viral spread that exceeded several million views in a few days, and became one of the most popular children’s videos on YouTube at the time, and Ryan’s channel managed to gain a large number of followers in Record time, while considered the first great jump. Today, the number of views of this video exceeds one billion, and it is considered one of the most viewed children’s videos on YouTube.

This particular video was a strong signal to both Ryan and his parents that what they are doing is not just an ordinary entertainment, or just amusement for their young child, but that there is a huge amount of opportunities that must be used in the best possible way. (1, 4, 5)

Let’s make things more professional

“At first, I noticed strange comments under the videos, they looked like childish comments in different languages. Then I realized that these comments were comments of young children of Ryan’s age trying to write to him in their simple style in English and other languages, then we realized that a large percentage of the views are coming from Asia, because of Ryan’s Asian looks. We knew it was beyond America, and YouTube was where everyone saw you.”

(Siwon, father of Ryan Kaji’s child)

With the advent of 2016, and with the growing numbers of Ryan’s videos, the parents decided to quit their job, as Siwon’s father quit his job as an engineer and Luan’s mother quit her job as a teacher, and her words decided to devote herself to working full time in developing Ryan’s content and expanding its views more professionally and organized. The first thing the parents did was change the family surname to “Kage” to “Ryan Kaji”, a name more easily conjured up by the public.

Child Ryan accompanied by his parents Siwon and Luan in a laughing picture (media)

The second step is for the parents to hire a number of producers, video editors and animators to create more attractive and professional visual effects for Ryan’s videos. This step was taken after the parents felt the danger of uploading their young son, who did not complete 5 years, as an effort beyond his capacity, especially with the abundance of video productions per week, which made the use of a work team to reduce this pressure necessary.

The main condition set by Ryan’s parents was that all videos be produced according to Ryan’s character, which people loved, got used to and were waiting for, without the visual effects of his character being overshadowed and absent. The parents also started appearing in some of the videos more, and they worked on several sub-channels of Ryan’s main channel. (1, 2, 3)

river of money

By the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, Ryan’s fame had reached heights, not only in the United States, but around the world. So it was only natural that he caught the eye of one of the big kids in the advertising and media industry, Chris Williams, a former Disney executive before he founded Pocketwatch, a YouTube influencer marketing company. Williams rushed to sign a contract with Ryan to further market his YouTube channel, and in the same year, Ryan’s parents founded a private children’s video production company, operating 8 YouTube channels, most of which are Ryan’s main hero.

Between 2016-2017, with the acceleration in video production, and the growth of the team responsible for Rayan’s YouTube channel to reach dozens of employees including photographers, editors, illustrators, writers and voice actors who produce a large number of videos per week, Rayan and his family were able to generate revenues of 11 million dollars from YouTube, and Ryan’s channel was ranked as the eighth highest-grossing YouTube channel for 2017. (1, 2, 3)


In 2018, Ryan was seven years old and became one of the most influential kidfluencers in the world ever, and his YouTube fame went beyond. With the number of views growing to exceed the billions mark, a game company teamed up with Ryan to launch a children’s game app called Tag With Ryan. Also this year, Ryan’s family’s revenue from YouTube rose to $22 million, ranking first in the list of the most profitable YouTube channels in the world.

Ryan’s YouTube channels continued to generate more revenue in 2019 with $26 million, as well as expanding into several spin-offs, such as releasing 20 TV episodes as “Ryan’s Mystery Playmate” and then a video game called Race. Race With Ryan was released on the most important game consoles such as PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, and others.

Many games have become Ryan’s image to take advantage of his popularity among children (media)

In 2020, Ryan achieved the same title for the third year in a row, occupying first place in the list of YouTube channel revenues with a value of $ 30 million, along with a percentage of sales of hundreds of licensed products that bear his name, or that refer to him by an advertising agreement, and their number reached 1,600 products, including Children’s clothing, watches, sports products, toothbrushes and toys, sold in more than 30 countries around the world. (15)

Not because he’s a cute kid.. just

What makes a young Asian-looking child establish a YouTube channel when he is three and a half years old, and this channel turns into one of the largest YouTube channels in terms of followers – about 31 million followers – and achieves a total of nearly fifty billion views, and turns into a full-fledged institution in which he works Dozens of employees and partnerships with hundreds of companies and brands around the world?

This is the question posed by Time in an attempt to analyze the reasons for this success. The matter goes beyond the limits of luck and chance without a doubt, and also goes beyond just limiting him to Ryan’s talent or being a nice child loved by children around the world. Surely there are hundreds of thousands of cute kids out there who can make excellent videos and none of them have achieved a tenth of Ryan’s channel popularity. (1)

The “Time” sees that the main reason for this spread and the tremendous success that Ryan has achieved is an equation: the right person at the right time. In addition to the excellent marketing and executive mentality that Ryan’s parents showed in taking advantage of the opportunity after its beginnings, the right timing also played a pivotal role in achieving this spread. In 2015 – the year Ryan started his channel – the prices of laptops were decreasing dramatically in the American and global market, which made many around the world go to buy computers, and give up their tablets to their children.

At exactly the same time, in February 2015, YouTube launched its YouTube Kids app on phones and tablets, and with tablets in children’s hands and parental supervision, millions of children increased their follow-up to age-appropriate niche content. Consequently, the market size that accommodates the production of children’s content has increased rapidly, which greatly helped in the spread of content produced by Ryan and his parents in their then-nascent channel.

right time

(Video of Ryan wearing the McDonald’s brand in some kind of branding)

In that period also – with a wonderful synchronization, as I noticed – the so-called “content makers economy” began to flourish on the web, and the YouTube platform was one of its most prominent and largest arenas, which attracted the attention of advertisers and marketers who noticed the rise of the phenomenon of “influencers” and the growth of their influence more compared to with traditional celebrities. This made advertising and media institutions rush to cooperate with new influencers early, and compete in their support to increase their production of content and benefit from their fame in advertising. Of course, Ryan was one of the most important influencers in the children’s content market.

As for the fourth synchronization, and perhaps the most important, it is the great acceleration in the spread of “unboxing” videos in which the content creator reviews a specific product by opening and analyzing it to the public, whether it is a new phone, tablet, or other products of any kind. Of course, toys and baby products were one of the most followed categories among large segments of children.

Despite some of the problems that Ryan’s channel faced regarding the policy of advertising products, many of which were classified as unhealthy for children, and that they carry a promotion that makes children obsessed with owning games in a way that increases the material burden on parents, which made YouTube and Google decide to put greater restrictions Regarding the advertising content on children’s channels, but the spread that Ryan achieved in those years made him overcome these obstacles, even as the content published on his channels was modified to address other topics of interest to children and not limited to the advertising aspects of games. (1, 2, 3)

After all, it’s certainly undeniable that Ryan is a cute kid, but kindness alone doesn’t make tens of millions of dollars a year of course. Behind this innocence, looks and childish laughter, there is a lot of planning, work and a network of advertising relationships that his parents did with great professionalism. Success as one of America’s leading film producers, Kathleen Kennedy, put it: “Success in life is just a little work and a lot of right timing!”



  1. How Ryan Kaji Became the Most Popular 10-Year-Old in the World
  2. Ryan Kaji Net Worth
  3. Kaji: Charismatic Kid YouTuber Played His Way to a Multi-Million Dollar Fortune
  4. Ryan’s World
  5. Ryan’s World channel

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