On Tuesday night, Li Jiaqi appeared again on Alibaba’s Taobao Live, the e-commerce giant’s live streaming platform.
His show immediately attracted thousands of viewers in the first few minutes, despite no prior notice on his social media accounts. By the end of the two-hour show, 63 million viewers had watched his live stream, more than most previous shows. But still less traffic than the major shopping festivals.
The 30-year-old streamer, also called Austin Li, was one of China’s biggest internet celebrities, with 64 million followers on Alibaba’s Taobao. He once sold 15,000 lipsticks in five minutes in a sales competition against Alibaba founder Jack Ma, earning himself the nickname “China’s Lipstick King.”
But the superstar salesman has been silent since early June after abruptly suspending his popular show on the eve of this year’s anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Before the impromptu ending, Li showed her audience a multi-layer ice cream decorated with Oreos and a wafer. It looked like a tank.
On Tuesday’s show, Li did not explain why she disappeared or where she had gone for the past three months.
The products, including cosmetics, skin care products, and fashion apparel, were quickly snapped up by passionate fans, focusing solely on presentation. One of the best selling items it was a face cream that sold over 50,000 units Total sales of 12.3 million yuan ($1.75 million).
“You’re finally here!” said some fans in the comments of the bullets that ran across the screen. “Welcome!”
The fans were so enthusiastic that they bought many of the goods faster than expected, forcing Li to end the show earlier than usual. His previous live shows usually last more than three hours.
“Today, the merchandise has been prepared in a hurry, and many girls couldn’t take it,” Li said at the end of the live stream, adding that she was sorry for causing a bad shopping experience because there wasn’t enough merchandise. .
“How do we end it for now, and then we will continue to broadcast when we have enough assets,” he said. “See you tomorrow, girls.”
Li’s comeback has quickly gone viral on social media, with many Weibo users giving the live-streaming star a wild welcome.
“I’m ready to shop!” said another user.
Li wasn’t the only live star to disappear in recent months.
The sudden rise and fall of China’s most prominent players underscores the vulnerability of those dependent on the Internet in the world’s second-largest economy.
In June, just two weeks after Li’s disappearance, Beijing stepped up its crackdown on the country’s thriving live-streaming industry. Regulators released new rules banning 31 “misconduct” by live-streaming hosts, and requiring them to “uphold correct political and social values.”
But a sharp crackdown on the balloon live streaming industry may not be good news for China’s economy.