Mar. 26 (NBD) – Luo Yonghao, a Chinese internet celebrity and founder of smartphone brand Smartisan, said Thursday he has signed contract with Douyin, the domestic version of TikTok, to start live streaming on the popular short video platform.

His account has been created on Douyin, and has already won 1.2 million fans as of press time, even though the first live streaming session will not take place until April 1.

Luo did not specify on the kinds of products he plans to recommend, but promised he "basically won't make money" from the first event.

Live streaming e-commerce refers to hosts recommending products while viewers make orders by clicking the links on the streaming page. Influencers like "king of lipstick" Li Jiaqi and top Taobao streamer Viya can facilitate deals worth hundreds of millions of yuan in just one session. 

China Merchants Securities estimated in a report that live streaming e-commerce generated over 300 billion yuan of GMV in China in 2019, and predicted the market could grow to 1 trillion yuan in the future. Alibaba Group's Taobao, short video apps Douyin and Kuaishou are the three biggest players in the sector. 

The promising market prospect revealed in the report prompted Luo to enter the field, he said in a social media post on March 19.

The contract with Douyin brought an end to a week of rumors and speculations about which platform Luo would pick. Tech media 36Kr reported that founder of Kuaishou, Douyin's archrival, has personally negotiated with Luo and offered 100 million yuan, but failed to lure him. However, Kuaishou denied to The Beijing News it has any part in the competition.

Reports said the Douyin contract is worth 60 million yuan, but both Luo and ByteDance, owner of Douyin, declined to comment when reached by media.

Luo earned the big deal in part due to the fact that he has a large following in China as a maverick businessman and opinion leader. Over the years he had created blogging website, written best-selling books, and launched smartphone brand Smartisan.

The smartphone business lost the battle to giants like Xiaomi and Huawei, and was sold to ByteDance in 2019. Luo then started an e-cigarette brand, but was met with strict regulatory scrutiny. This time, Luo believes he will become the No.1 e-commerce streamer in many categories of products.


Email: lansuying@nbd.com.cn

Editor: Lan Suying