People enjoy the crayfish in Xiangyang, Central China's Hubei Province on June 17, 2019. Over 1,000 crayfish were stripped and devoured in less than 20 minutes. (Photo: VCG)
A well-known Chinese news anchor together with one China's top livestreaming celebrity on Monday launched an online sales promotion for products from Central China's Hubei Province, which has been under lockdown for over two months due to the coronavirus outbreak. The livestream promotion, intended to boost economic recovery in China's hardest-hit province, went viral online and 40.14 million yuan ($5.7 million) worth of local products were sold in just two hours.
The day before an official lockdown was lifted in Wuhan, capital of Hubei and the city most impacted by the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, a public interest livestream broadcast on e-commerce platform Taobao drew an audience of 10.91 million, 122 million views and 160 million thumbs-up, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
The livestream was launched jointly by CCTV news anchor Zhu Guangquan and Li Jiaqi, one of the top livestream celebrities in China. The unique pairing has sparked huge interest among Chinese netizens and was the most searched hashtag on China's Twitter-like social media platform Weibo for over four hours on Monday.
Nearly all 15 promoted products sold out within seconds of their introductions, and netizens said on Weibo that products sold out so quickly that they were unable to buy anything. Goods included Wuhan's famous hot dry noodles, tea and other local agricultural products.
Netizens were surprised by Zhu's humorous and resourceful promotional slogans during the livestream, giving Zhu and Li the nickname "Peppa Pig," saying they never thought the normally serious news anchor could be so funny.
As Wuhan is set to officially "restart" on Wednesday following all-out efforts to combat the virus, which came at huge economic cost, e-commerce platforms have been rolling out promotional events to help assist the city's recovery.
Alibaba on Monday launched a "Focusing on Hubei" channel to sell goods from the province, and received over 200,000 orders for agricultural products within one hour, according to reports.
Livestreamed sales promotion has been widely adopted on China's e-commerce platforms in recent years and a host of nationally famous celebrities have followed. Li, dubbed the "lipstick king" in China, has sold over 33 million products since early February, according to reports.
With support from celebrities, e-commerce platforms and other institutions, the hardest-hit province has seen gradual economic resumption since its standstill. Chinese netizens have said that though they were unable to fight the virus on the frontline, they are ready to help by placing orders for Hubei products.