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中国姑娘在法国街头用古筝演奏《上海滩》,外国人都看呆了……

CD君 CHINADAILY 2021-11-24

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From the outside, Liu Bing, 35, is a vlogger on Douyin, China's leading short video app, where he imparts so-called life lessons through a series of two-minute video clips to the younger generation, or "between 18 and 28 years old", as he precisely put it.


▲ Viya (left), one of China's top e-commerce livestreamers, and her assistants promote products via livestreaming platforms in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Photo by Chen Zhongqiu/For China Daily


But a more ambitious plan is in the making: when the current 30,000 followers grow to a size of 50,000 and beyond, Liu will consider introducing necklaces, earrings and other jewelry items featuring Chinese characteristics that he designs, manufactures (in partnership with an original equipment manufacturer) and sells.


Liu's choice of "detour" uncovered a new way of doing business: selling your persona before selling your brand.



Enriching media forms from short videos to livestreaming are rewriting the retail playbook in China.


"We are witnessing a shift from rack-based shopping to discovery-based shopping, and eventually to trust-based shopping," said Jason Yu, general manager of consultancy Kantar Worldpanel China. "I choose to buy something not necessarily because of the products per se, but because of the person selling it."


This retail "new normal" can be traced back to the early days of livestreaming, a real-time interaction between customers and store owners materialized by technological readiness, that is, smartphones and high-speed internet connections.


▲ According to a report by Xinhua News Agency on June 3, total revenue of agricultural products sold online reached 283 million yuan from January to April, 28 percent more than in the corresponding period last year. Photo by Chen Feibo/For China Daily


For long, livestreaming has remained an obscure practice. But when Taobao, China's top e-commerce site, introduced the function five years ago, it took off and turned into something of a must for businesses aspiring for a younger generation of consumers.


Taobao Live is the brainchild of Zhao Lidong, who oversees product development and content commercialization at Taobao Live. She said she believes new media forms as such stand to offer sellers and influencers a more personal, straightforward way to engage with their audiences.


Today, the platform has groomed a handful of influencers, or better known as "hosts" in the online shopping lexicon, including household names Austin Li and Viya. Many admit to buying for the sake of supporting their beloved characters.



China's livestreaming e-commerce market reached 961 billion yuan in 2020, a jump of 121.5 percent from the previous year, according to data from iiMedia Research.


The sector is on a steady upward trajectory to reach 1.2 billion yuan this year.


As livestreaming industry proliferates, brands can no longer solely rely on key opinion leaders-KOLs or Wang Hong-to market their projects, due to costs and quality control issues. Instead, they employ key opinion consumers-KOCs-who specialize in product reviews for a smaller patch of followers.


▲ A woman promotes food via livestreaming in Lianyungang, East China's Jiangsu province, on June 9, 2020. Photo/Xinhua


"KOCs make eminent sense to retailers due to their higher perceived reliability and trustworthiness," said Jennifer Ye, partner and China consumer markets leader at consultancy PwC.


"To appeal to younger consumers in China, it is critical for brands to find KOCs that embody the right brand values, and who can reliably connect with target audiences through user-generated content," said Ye, citing the example of Chanel partnering with a local media company to establish a network of micro-influencers.


Peng Jingxuan, 26, who is doing her second master's degree in France, unexpectedly developed a cult following after posting her videos playing guzheng, a traditional Chinese musical instrument, on Bilibili, China's top video portal and community for notably the Generation Z population.


During her performance, she dressed up in traditional Chinese costumes and wore makeup in ancient Chinese style. With a fan base of 1.5 million and many of her videos played more than 1 million times each, brands spanning cosmetics to snacking utilize her services.


"Because my videos are essentially promoting the rising China cultural tide, I'd favor brands whose brand-positioning aligns with my online persona, namely an advocate of Chinese culture," Peng said of her rationale in choosing merchants to collaborate with.



But just as the old Chinese saying goes, "water can carry a boat, but can also overturn it", there could be potential backlash over overreliance on influencers, warned Yu from Kantar Worldpanel.


"If a delicately curated persona collapses, the potential damage that would do to brands is beyond what they can bear."

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编辑:陈月华 周婵

记者:贺炜

实习生:李蕤


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