Inside NBA Star James Harden’s China Livestream Success. Is It Replicable?

The basketball player was awed when 10,000 bottles of his wine sold in under 10 seconds on a Douyin livestream. Is this a tactic other brands can follow?

Ten thousand bottles in five seconds. It’s an impressive number that would leave any seller in disbelief and doing a celebratory cartwheel on camera.

That is, if they’re not accustomed to Chinese livestreaming.

On August 15, NBA star James Harden went live on Douyin with Chinese social media influencer Crazy Little Brother Yang to promote his personal wine brand, J-Harden Wines. Harden told viewers that he normally sells a few cases in a day — he was stunned when all 10,000 bottles sold out in seconds.

“No way!” Harden shouted as he rushed over to the computer to double check the numbers.

On Weibo, where the Philadelphia 76ers guard has 2 million followers, his reaction to the livestream went viral. The hashtag “Harden is shocked at the speed of selling goods in China” (#哈登震惊于中国卖货速度) accumulated almost 270 million views, as netizens joked that the first championship of his career is “sales champion” (销冠) and invited him to join the Chinese Basketball Association.

Laughs aside, having a 10-time All Star team up with a top-tier KOL seems like an easy way to score points in China’s e-commerce court. But is it a play that other brands can follow?

China loves Harden, and Harden loves China

The livestream comes as Harden, aka “The Beard,” returns to China for the first time in four years to meet fans and attend events. In addition to being named NBA MVP in 2018 and one of the league’s 75 greatest players of all-time in 2021, the 33-year-old boasts a signature shoe line with Adidas.

According to Jacob Cooke, co-founder and CEO of WPIC Marketing + Technologies, basketball stars differ from traditional celebrities in that the majority of their fans are men, with most falling into the 25-34 age group.

“These are digital natives in high-tier cities with high purchasing power. So, for brands whose target customers include men, basketball fans represent a lucrative demographic that can be reached through collaborations with NBA stars, the NBA, or other basketball-themed activations,” he says. Continue to read the full article here