Chinese Livestreaming’s Leap Year

Eight terms summarizing another colorful year in the world of Chinese livestreaming.

In 2019, livestreaming was already ubiquitous in China. With hundreds of millions of viewers using countless apps and spending lavishly, it seemed like an industry at its peak.

But following the outbreak of COVID-19, livestreaming took on greater significance in China as lockdowns, social distancing, and indoor living became the norm. Livestreaming viewership is estimated to jump by over 60 million this year to 524 million.

The boom has also exacerbated existing issues in the sector, however, such as fake products, which a raft of new regulations aims to fix.

Below are the eight words that captured a year in livestreaming.

Boldly going where many have gone before

Faced with financial pressures from forced closures, limited opening times, restricted travel, and reduced foot traffic due to COVID-19 in the early months of the year, many businesses gave commercial livestreaming a first try.

Struggling bookstores livestreamed literary readings and salon events while selling books through food-delivery apps, cosmetics stores turned their sales staff into commercial livestreamers, and real estate agents broadcast from within properties because frightened homeowners were afraid of letting strangers into their homes. Chefs even livestreamed advice on how to have restaurant experiences at home while selling products such as “self-heating hot pots.”

Other commercial livestreaming ventures included those for car sales, financial investments (which raised some consternation), banking, and even the space industry. In April, celebrity livestreamer Weiya sold a 6 million yuan ($920,000) commercial rocket launch for the first time, which attracted 500 prospective buyers within just five minutes.

Women make up the majority of commercial livestream viewers, but even the male-dominated game livestreaming app Douyu started selling wares to its user base in March. Continue to read the full article here


– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone