The Chinese movie “Lipstick King” returns to live broadcast after being missing for three months

On Tuesday evening, Li Jiaqi reappeared on Alibaba’s Taobao Live, the e-commerce giant’s live streaming platform.

His show instantly attracted thousands of viewers within the first few minutes, despite the lack of advance notices on his social media accounts. By the end of the two-hour show, 63 million viewers had watched his live broadcast, which is higher than most of his previous shows. But it is still less traffic during major shopping festivals.

The 30-year-old live streamer, also named Austin Lee, was one of the biggest internet celebrities in China, with 64 million followers on Alibaba’s Taobao. He once sold 15,000 lipsticks within five minutes in a sales contest against Alibaba founder Jack Ma, earning himself the title of ‘King of Lipstick in China’.

But the super-vendor has been silent since early June after its popular show was abruptly interrupted on the eve of the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Before the abrupt end, Lee showed his fans multi-layered ice cream decorated with Oreos and chips. It was like a tank.

Analysts said it was almost certain that the government censored Li, because the shape of the tank is a sensitive symbol in China, linked to many of the Tiananmen massacre in 1989. Although Li may have made an “unintentional” mistake, the Tiananmen crackdown is clear The taboo and timing are “fatal,” according to Rongbin Han, associate professor at the University of Georgia.

During the Tuesday show, he didn’t explain to me why he had been missing or where he had gone in the past three months.

He focused only on offering merchandise, including cosmetics, skin care products, and fashion apparel, which were quickly picked up by enthusiastic fans. One of the best selling items It was a face cream, of which more than 50,000 units were sold With total sales of 12.3 million yuan ($1.75 million).

“Finally you’re here!” Some fans said in the comments a bullet is swiped across the screen. “welcome back!”

Fans were so thirsty that they bought many items more quickly than expected, forcing Lee to end the show earlier than usual. His past live streams usually last more than three hours.

“Today, the goods were prepared in a hurry, and many girls couldn’t get them,” Lee said towards the end of the live broadcast, adding that he was sorry for causing a bad shopping experience due to the lack of enough goods. .

“What if we finish it for now, and then we will continue broadcasting when we have enough goods,” he said. “See you tomorrow girls.”

Li’s comeback quickly became a hot topic on social media, with many Weibo users giving the livestream star a huge welcome.

“I burst into tears when I see him again on screen!” One. “I’ve waited so long!”

“I’m ready to shop at a store!” Another user said.

Lee wasn’t the only live-streaming star to have disappeared in recent months.

    Austin Lee Jiaqi's e-commerce live stream brings merchandise to his online fans.
Via, who was – until recently – known as the “Queen of Live Streaming”, has not appeared online since December, when authorities imposed a record $210 million fine on her. for tax evasion. The 36-year-old had millions of followers on China’s major social media and shopping platforms – including Weibo, Taobao and Douyin’s Chinese version of TikTok – but her accounts were removed in December.

The sudden rise and fall of China’s most famous influencer underscores the vulnerability of those who depend on the internet for their livelihoods in the world’s second largest economy.

In June, just two weeks after Li’s disappearance, Beijing intensified its crackdown on the country’s booming live broadcasting industry. Organizers have issued new rules banning 31 “misconduct” by live-streaming hosts, and requiring them to “uphold correct political and social values”.

The Chinese economy is in bad shape and could continue like this for a while

But a crackdown on a bloated streaming industry may not be good news for the Chinese economy.

The world’s second largest economy suffers from severe economic problems. Consumer spending is weak, while youth unemployment is near historic highs.
Policymakers now face mounting challenges to maintain growth and job stability, as the country grapples with the impact of Beijing’s adherence to tough anti-coronavirus policy, a painful regulatory crackdown on the private sector, a property crisis causing bad debts in banks to soar and social protests growing.

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