Chinese livestreaming continues to soar, even as Chinese consumers get back to their busy lives as life returns to normal. Between January and March, over 4 million commerce livestreaming marketing activities were held, with 560 million livestream users in China by the end of this period.
Following on from my earlier post: China’s Soaring Livestream Trend: The What, Who & How, here is some new data and analysis on livestreaming:
Performance of some of the new kids on the stream
The buzz of livestreaming has seen many well-known Chinese throw their hat in the ring for a shot at livestreaming stardom. Two of the biggest successes have been older-than-the-usual internet stars and business people, Yonghao Luo and Mingzhu Dong.
We noted Yonghao Luo’s rise on Douyin back in April. Since then, his performance appears to be stabililizing, although on a steady downward trend.
On the other hand, Mingzhu Dong, businesswoman and chairperson of appliance retailer Gree, learnt from a lacklustre start and has soared since. After a poor pricing strategy and dubious internet connection which was not seen as “sincere” by audiences on Douyin, she worked with Kuaishou and JD to increase her revenue by 1,300 times for Gree. During a single livestream on JD she sold the equivalent of double Gree’s 2019 ecommerce revenue. Mingzhu Dong’s success on Kuaishou and JD can be put down to her established fame and fanbase, and high subsidies from the platforms allowing great pricing. And the Internet connection was fixed of course.
Electronic Vehicles Join the Feast
Of course it was only a matter of before the aspirational EV brands were in on the livestream act. Livestream sensation Viya reportedly did not charge Telsa to do a one-hour demo. Although the livestream has got a lot of airtime (anything with Telsa and Viya will), it was Telsa’s China challenger NIO who performed a lot better. 2,600 viewers (from a total of 4 million) paid ¥1 for a Telsa test-drive, whereas NIO, hosted by Han Wang and NIO’s founder Bin Li clocked 5,288 test drives and sold 320 cars worth ¥128 million ($18 million)
And Enter the Virtual Livestream Host
Top livestream anchors such as Yonghao Luo, Viya and Austin Li can command as much as ¥600K ($84K) just for a slot on their show, then 20%-40% commission. But virtual singer Luo Tianyi earned ¥900K ($127K) plus commission from French beauty brand L’Occitane.
Recently, virtual celebrity Luo Tianyi joined livestreaming king Austin Li’s show as a trial.
China has seen a rise in virtual celebrities who do everything a real celeb can do, such as sing, dance, do livestreams, have fan clubs and even do offline concerts.
Luo Tianyi’s image was released in 2012, followed by her voice in 2017. She stated a Bilibili account in 2016 and now has 185K followers, 1.9m likes, 22.8 million plays from 41 videos of famous songs such as PuTong Disco and DaLaBengBa.
Luo Tianyi has performed in many galas, including the 2016 Hunan TV New Year’s Eve Gala, 2016-2017 Hunan TV New Year’s Gala, 2017-2018 Jiangsu TV New Year’s Gala, 2018-2019 Jiangsu TV New Year’s Gala, 2016 and 2019 Bilibili Macro Link.
Luo Tianyi is owned by a company called Vsinger who has several singers. In 2017, they held a concert with virtual stars, and got 5m plays on Bilibili. The concert was not much different from a concert performed by a real singer, complete with crazy fans, but with technology that used advanced holographic projection to make it even more interesting. If a concert isn’t enough, she even hosted her own birthday party on the 94th floor of Shanghai World Financial Center.
Virtual stars are nothing new, Toyota engaged Miku as long ago as 2011. However the increased digitalisation and interactivity of platforms creates a ripe environment for such initiatives. Brands would be wise to follow these evolutions closely and see if they fit with their marketing strategies for China – China Skinny can assist with this.