Wu Xiaobo is a famous finance and company-focused writer, with a brand built on bestselling books and an annual year-end show in which he shares insights into the business world. So of course, he figured he could sell milk powder on an e-commerce livestream. Spoiler alert: he was wrong.

Livestream e-commerce shows have reached dizzying sales figures, with celebrity salespeople like star influencer Viya regularly selling RMB 72 million ($10.3 million) in a three-hour show. 

Other business figures have tried their hands as celebrity spokespeople. Dong Mingzhu, chairwoman of home appliance manufacturer Gree Electric, sold RMB 310 million worth of goods in a three-hour live stream in May. As Wu has said, “You are not living the year 2020 if you have never watched or hosted a livestream session” (our translation).

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.