Ryan Kaji. Photo:  VietReader Viet Nam
Ryan Kaji. Photo: VietReader Viet Nam

Ryan Kaji is among the highest-paid social media influencers of all time. According to reports, he earned an estimated $29 million in 2020 despite still being a child. In 2018, 2019, and 2020, he generated more income on Youtube than any other content creator.

Ryan is on track in 2021 to be the highest-paid four years in a row.

He was born in Texas, USA, on the 6th of October 2011 and is currently aged just 9. His father is of Japanese heritage, and his mother is Vietnamese. His sisters, Kate and Emma, are twins and are younger than him.

Who is Ryan Kaji: Biography

Ryan’s World is a YouTube channel hosted by 9-year-old Ryan Kaji (real last name: Guan) – a toy-loving kid from Texas.

Ryan’s YouTube career started in 2015 at 3 years old, when his parents would film him opening and reviewing new toys daily just for fun. Back then, the channel was known as Ryan’s Toy Review; and within less than 2 years, by the age of 5, his videos were raking in millions of dollars and getting billions of views.

His videos held a charismatic charm and energetic presence that attracted parents and kids alike. But as Ryan’s following grew over the years, his content did too. It wasn’t long after they began the channel that it became evident Ryan had something special, so they expanded the brand into an “empire” – now called Ryan’s World.

They started producing a wide array of content and expanding the brand beyond what the Kaji family ever thought possible.

Ryan’s World has now grown across nine different YouTube channels, each one focusing on a persona that was created by Ryan on his main channel. This includes Combo Panda, Gus the Gummy Gator, and more.

As Ryan grows up, his main channel has moved from just toy reviews to entertaining videos that reflect all of his interests. Now, he creates various types of videos from him doing science experiments, playing games, going on adventures, and more.

He’s even started teaching science, geography, natural phenomenons, and general life skills – like how to brush your teeth. As he’s expanded his channel to incorporate educational value alongside showcasing the general fun of being a kid, Ryan’s World’s net worth has been continuously growing at an insanely fast rate, as reported by Nasacademy.

What Nationality Is Ryan Kaji?

Now that you know a bit about how this young star became rich, you probably want to know more about his past. Let's start with a question many of his viewers have. What is Ryan Kaji's nationality?

While many speculate that Ryan is Filipino, he's not. His mother is Vietnamese, and his father is Japanese. Loan grew up in Houston and is the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants. On the other hand, Shion moved from Japan to the United States to attend college.

Ryan grew up in Texas. His parents married in 2013, two years after he was born, and not long before his first YouTube channel would emerge.

Who are Ryan Kaji’s Parents?

Photo: Naibuzz
Photo: Naibuzz

Loann Kaji, Ryan Kaji’s mother, was born Kieu-Loan Thi Nguyen in 1984. She grew up in Houston, Texas, the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants. Not much is known about her childhood, but we do know that she attended college at the University of Houston.

Loann continued her studies at Texas Tech University, and it's there she met fellow student Shion Guan in 2009. Guan was enrolled in the university's civil engineering program, and left his native Japan in order to attend school on the US.

After Ryan was born and Kaji and Guan got married, they settled into life Texas. Guan worked as a structural engineer, and Kaji was working as a chemistry teacher at a local high school. She was also certified to teach English as a second language.

It's hard to say exactly what Kaji's personal net worth is. As Ryan's mom, and co-creator and manager of the channel and associated businesses, she obviously takes a cut of the money they make. Ryan's net worth is estimated to be around $26 million. Aside from the channel, which still puts out new content on a daily basis, the family also has an exclusive licensing deal with brand licensing company Pocket.watch.

The Success Story of Ryan’s World

Ryan’s Toy Unboxing seemed to pioneer it’s own style of unboxing videos, holding a certain charisma and charm that viewers couldn’t get enough of. And over the years, through consistent posting and having Ryan’s bright personality up front and center, his main channel has accumulated over 30 million followers and more than 48 billion views.

One of Ryan’s videos that exploded early on in his YouTube career, was a video titled: “Huge Eggs Surprise Toy Challenge,” created back in 2016. This single video (showing Ryan running around a bouncy castle, collecting eggs with toys inside) has reached over 2 billion views and, as of December 2020, was ranked as one of the 60 most-viewed videos in YouTube’s history.

Yes. That’s right. It has even outdone the “Charlie bit my finger!” video.

Since Ryan’s World blew up, the Kaji’s started opening up Ryan’s other channels to create new avenues of generating income. This way, Ryan wasn’t required to be on camera full-time to keep growing his net worth. Each of these channels has gained over 1 million followers, which prompted the Kaji family to manage it all by establishing an entertainment company – Sunlight Entertainment.

Since signing onto TV contracts and working with countless brands to create themed merchandise, Ryan’s World’s popularity has skyrocketed. He was featured in the annual “Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade” extravaganza in New York City – yet another example of how Ryan’s presence is jumping off the screen and into the real world faster than ever.

Ryan’s World’s net worth has been significantly growing at a steady rate from the beginning. Between 2016-2017, only 2 years since starting his channel, he had already made $11 million in revenue. In 2018, his annual income had doubled to $22 million; and in 2019, he earned $26 million.

And most recently, in 2020, Ryan’s World annual income was a whopping $29.5 million.

As Ryan has grown up, his content has changed along with him. Since diversifying his stories into education as well as entertainment, he’s been able to maintain a steady growth of followers.

Based on Social Blade’s report, over the past 30 days alone, Ryan’s World has an estimated 482 million views. Which, surprisingly, is actually slightly lower than his 500-700 million average that he’s been receiving over the past few years.

Ryan’s World YouTube channel is now at 30.4 million subscribers, with over 48 billion views.

And this kid hasn’t even been to high school yet.

Why Is Ryan's World so Popular?

Ryan's World has 26.2 million subscribers, but how did a child get this many? According to Statista, YouTube is the second most popular social network—surpassed by Facebook and tying with WhatsApp. As of July 2020, the platform boasted more than 2 billion users worldwide. With so many users, it's possible for any channel on YouTube to grow, as long as creators continually release meaningful and relevant content.

And that's just what Ryan did.

Sure, playing with toys or conducting science experiments may not be the ideal entertainment for a Millennial, but it's perfect for a much younger audience. A 2019 study conducted by Pew Research Center showed that videos featuring children received three times more views than other genres. And as Eyal Baumel, CEO of management company Yoola, told Forbes, "YouTube is the most popular babysitter in the world."

Parents stumbled across Ryan's YouTube content five years ago. In his first video, Ryan picks out a LEGO® DUPLO® train at the store with his mom. The two go home, unbox the toy, and demonstrate how to play with it. The 15-minute video feels more like a home movie than a professional production, but to date, the video has over 50 million views.

Net Worth

Photo: LitKenya
Photo: LitKenya

In the beginning, Ryan’s parents operated and managed the channel. But as his popularity grew, so did the team. Now, he has a 28-employee production company working for him. Sunlight Entertainment is the company responsible for managing the channel and producing content.

Ryan earned more than $20 million from YouTube alone in the past few years.

His parents Loann and Shion run the company Sunlight Entertainment. They manage nine different channels. Their main channel is still Ryan’s World. But they also manage Ryan’s World Español, Ryan’s World in Japanese, EK Doodles, Ryan’s Family Review, Vtubers, Combo Panda, Gus the Gummy Gator, and The Studio Space.

His channel amassed more than 48,597,844,873 million views to date and has more than 31 million subscribers. Ryan now lives in Texas with his family. Fun fact: his mother was once a convicted criminal jailed for shoplifting. Not anymore.

His parents are secretive about their true identity. They changed their original surname. Kaji is an on-screen name they chose for the purpose of the channel. They live in a 6,200 square foot house with a swimming pool. It is just one of their three properties in the area of Cypress. His mother takes care of him and the twin sisters.

Ryan’s World rose to prominence in 2015. And in 2016, the channel ranked in the Top 5 biggest channels on YouTube. He got more subscribers and popularity than celebrity musicians. As of 2020, the channel has more than 28 million subscribers. Ryan’s world gets more than 11,000 new subscribers daily.

His main channel generates more than $88,000 in revenue per day or more than $32 million per year. That is from ads alone. But that number might change in the coming years. As of August 2020, Ryan’s World net worth is more than $30 million.

In January 2020, YouTube announced the platform will put in place changes to kids’ content. For starters, YouTube will not allow targeted advertising in videos directed at kids under 13.

Now Ryan’s World’s net worth is estimated to be $32 million, but some reportedly believe it’s even more.

How Does Ryan Kaji Make Money?

Back in 2015, when Ryan was only three, his parents decided to upload videos to a brand-new YouTube channel. At the time, they called the channel Ryan ToysReview. His family started the channel to post toy unboxings, demos, and reviews.

In "Forbes YouTube rich list: Ryan's World earns $37 million in one year from toy reviews," 7NEWS.com.au explains how Ryan became the platform's highest earner in 2019. "Ryan first garnered an internet following in the 'unboxing' genre, which involves opening presents on camera and commenting on each one." Although a simple format, his videos drew in an eager crowd. Every video review he posts is energetic, engaging, and enthusiastic. Those watching get an honest opinion directly from a toy manufacturer's target audience—a child.

Fast forward, and today Ryan's World is one of the most popular channels on YouTube. According to Social Blade, his videos get millions of views, and his channel has over 40 billion views in total. His most-watched video has amassed over 2 billion views since Ryan uploaded it in 2016.

The bulk of Ryan's wealth comes from video views. In 2019, he set a new record, earning an estimated $26 million from YouTube alone. And that total doesn't even include the cash he made from other endeavors.

Through Social Media Platforms

The Kajis have several channels on YouTube apart from Ryan’s World, although the main channel is the prime income source for the family. Ryan’s World makes around $2 million a month from advertisement revenues, and the 10-year old also earns $5 per 1,000 views, which totals his yearly earnings to $29 million from ads and views alone. Additionally, Kaji’s Instagram account called Ryan’s World has over 152,000 followers, and it is estimated that he earns $15,000 for every sponsored post, as noted by Nas Academy.

Via Videogame Platforms

Online gaming platform Roblox went public in 2020 with a valuation of $30 million. Roblox decided to partner with Ryan Kaji to bring Ryan’s World on the virtual platform. The platform offers interactive activities and locations for players, including the city center, school, race track, and the Fun Zone, where players can challenge each other to compete in obstacle courses. Using Roblox, Kaji earns revenue when users buy gems by exchanging their virtual gadgets, while the company takes a 30% cut from the sales. According to Wall Street Journal, with 36.2 million users every day, Kaji earns more than $1 million every year from Ryan’s World virtual game.

Through Television Shows

Photo: Straavi
Photo: Straavi

Ryan entered the world of television when Nickelodeon announced the launch of Ryan’s Mystery Play Date. The show follows Ryan, who overcomes several imaginative obstacles and solves puzzles to find the identity of his playdate. The show ranked on the top spot on the best Preschool Series of 2019. The show was renewed for the fourth season in 2021 for a 20-episode deal.

Kaji expanded his reach when he signed a deal with Amazon Kids+ to create Ryan Super Spy, a live-action and animated show that will feature 30-minute episodes. The show will see Kaji transported into the animated world to retrieve the Golden console. It is the first original on Amazon Kids+, and Kaji was honored to star in the show.

A Published Author

Ryan Kaji has also managed to become a published author during his ongoing career as a Kid YouTuber. He has published Ryan’s World Sticker Scenes book and also become a magazine brand in the UK. As mentioned by License Global, Egmont Publishing released a magazine themed as Ryan’s World. When released in 2019, the magazine exceeded every expectation and managed to sell 49,000 copies of the first edition and the second edition sold 52,000 copies. It quickly became the biggest selling magazine in the Children’s sector for 2019 in the UK.

Big Brand Endorsements

Fast-food restaurant company Hardee’s returned to the business of children’s meals by collaborating with Ryan Kaji and using his social media presence to relaunch their products. Kaji endorsed Hardee and its sister group Carl’s Jr. to advertise their meal Star Pals, including cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, hotdogs, tacos, and chicken stars. Kaji’s other endorsement is with Wonderful Halos’ Mandarin oranges, which are based in California. Kaji shared his experience of visiting their orchards and how healthy the seedless oranges are for everyone. The video has earned more than 2.2 million views on YouTube.

Launching Product Lines

It isn’t a surprise that the Kaji family stepped into merchandising to market on their ever-growing YouTube channel. The products were first launched on a global scale in 2018 and made $42 million in sales. For 2019, Ryan’s World released 1,000 products in 75,000 stores which made more than $750 million, as stated by Tube Filter. His creations include action figures, clothes, and accessories. Pocket Watch, a Kid’s Content Studio, signed an exclusive deal in 2017 to sell the products at Walmart, Staples, and Mattel. In 2019, Pocket Watch and Colgate collaborated to create Ryan’s line of toothpaste, where the 10-year had the opportunity to visit the facility and hand-select the colors and flavors, according to Therichest.

Sunlight Entertainment

Photo: Megastarsbio
Photo: Megastarsbio

Sunlight Entertainment is Ryan Kaji’s family-owned and operated production company that develops family-friendly content, and is driven to help kids learn. Founded in 2017, Sunlight Entertainment was created by Ryan and his family to help streamline the workflow of one YouTube’s largest kids’ channels, Ryan’s World.

Sunlight Entertainment continues to grow and currently manages eight YouTube channels: Ryan’s World, Ryan’s World Español, EK Doodles, Ryan’s Family Review, Vtubers, Combo Panda, Gus the Gummy Gator and The Studio Space. The company employs a 30-person team of videographers, editors, animators, writers and voice actors to help produce live action and animated content — releasing about 25 videos a week. Currently, Ryan’s World has rapidly evolved from a toy review YouTube channel to a global kids play and entertainment brand through digital and broadcast entertainment, toys and consumer products.

Ryan’s Popular Videos

Ryan's World has over 1,770 videos. These are a few of his most-watched titles, according to Social Blade:

* Ryan in Giant Box Fort Maze Grandma Obby!!!! (April 22, 2019)

* Children's Museum Pretend Play Playground (September 11, 2017)

* Christmas Morning 2016 Opening Presents with Ryan ToysReview (December 26, 2016)

* Surprise Toys Giant Balloon Pop Challenge (May 3, 2016)

* Nerf Gun War Kid vs. Daddy! Protect the Fort! (February 2, 2017)

In the early years, parents fell in love with Ryan because they could get a feel for new toys before deciding to buy them for their own children. Kids enjoyed having an online playdate with a relatable "friend." Retailers appreciated the boost in toy sales new Ryan's World uploads created. It was a win-win scenario for all parties involved. The channel's popularity soon exploded, and the rest is history.

And now that Ryan has grown older, his content has also evolved to keep up with his audience. In an article entitled "Ryan is eight years old and for 3rd year in a row – He is a YouTube millionaire," Being Guru reflects how the channel has grown. "Now, the kid has matured his content from unboxing toys to conducting scientific experiments for kids. He also appears on Nickelodeon and has a deal with Hulu alongside introducing a line of more than 100 toys, clothing items, and lots more."

In an exclusive 2018 interview with NBC Nightly News, the famous toy reviewer explained why he's so popular. When asked why he believed so many people watched his videos, Ryan simply replied, "Because I'm entertaining, and I'm funny."

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