Li Jiaqi promotes products during a livestream session. [Gao Erqiang/China Daily]
After being absent from the public eye for over three months, Li Jiaqi, a top livestreaming host also known as the "lipstick king", returned to e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group's livestreaming platform on Tuesday, which industry experts said is expected to bolster online consumption and intensify competition in the burgeoning e-commerce livestreaming segment.
Li's livestreaming session on Taobao Live, which kicked off at 7 pm, attracted 150,000 viewers in the first 10 minutes and this figure surpassed 22 million by 8 pm. He showcased a number of commodities like cosmetics, skincare products, apparel and other household goods during the two-hour livestreaming session, with viewer numbers ultimately numbering 62.31 million.
Most of the products Li promoted sold out immediately as viewers flooded the screen with comments welcoming him back, while the top livestreaming sales influencer repeatedly asked his audience to "shop rationally".
Experts said the landscape of Chinese e-commerce livestreaming industry had begun changing during Li's absence.
Dong Yuhui, a 29-year-old livestreamer from education training company New Oriental, has become a big hit by selling agricultural products in both Chinese and English through livestreaming. He quickly garnered over 20 million followers within just 20 days in June.
Oriental Selection, the livestreaming channel of New Oriental on short video platform Douyin, had raked in over 300 million yuan ($42.6 million) during this year's June 18 shopping carnival, which ran from June 1 to 18.
"Livestreaming has become a key method widely adopted by consumer brands to retain existing users, attract new ones and boost sales revenue," said Cui Lili, director of the Institute of E-commerce at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.
A batch of new anchors represented by Dong from New Oriental, which features a refreshing style that combines disseminating knowledge and selling goods at the same time, has gained increasing popularity among the younger generation and is expected to break the monopoly of one or two top-notch influencers in the e-commerce livestreaming sector, Cui said.
According to market consultancy iiMedia research, the revenue of China's e-commerce livestreaming sector amounted to 1.2 trillion yuan in 2021, up 25 percent year-on-year, and the figure is projected to reach 2.1 trillion yuan in 2025.
Mo Daiqing, a senior analyst at the Internet Economy Institute, said Li's comeback on his livestreaming channel might be a test for the upcoming "Double-11"－the Singles Day shopping festival on Nov 11.
"No one wants to miss the biggest annual promotion campaign initiated by e-commerce platforms," Mo said, adding that given Li's popularity among consumers, his return will boost sales on Alibaba's online marketplaces.
Competition in the livestreaming e-commerce sector is set to intensify as an increasing number of brands and merchants are flocking to livestreaming rooms of short video platforms including Douyin, Kuaishou and Xiaohongshu－a lifestyle-focused social networking site, she said.
Online retailers should make strategic adjustments to reduce their dependence on top livestreaming anchors and support new anchors, she added. Moreover, more and more brands are aggressively moving toward starting their own livestreaming activities.