Livestreaming Farmers Make Millions on China’s TikTok

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Livestreaming Farmers Make Millions on China’s TikTok” – below is their description.

    Farmers and agricultural vendors in China’s remote provinces are selling goods directly to urban consumers via interactive livestreams and bite-sized videos on platforms like TikTok, a shift augmented by the Covid-19 pandemic. Revenues generated by rural content creators on ByteDance Ltd.’s Douyin — TikTok’s Chinese twin — have grown 15-fold year-on-year, the company reported.

    The coronavirus pandemic forced more than 23 million migrant workers to stay in their hometowns. As China’s transportation system ground to a halt, agricultural produce languished in storage. At the same time, consumers, stuck at home, were cooking more than ever. Demand for online fresh groceries soared and social commerce offered small-scale farmers a low-cost way to become entrepreneurs.

    Yunnan-based farmer Jin Guowei is an Internet sensation with 7.3 million followers and 300 million yuan ($46 million) of sales in 2020. He once sold 6 million yuan worth of pomegranates in 20 minutes.

    Another farmer, Guo Chengcheng, interacts with her 2.5 million Douyin fans from her family fields. In the past she sold through Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s merchant program on WeChat, making about a hundred orders a day. Now she takes as many as 50,000 orders per livestream — earning at least 9 million yuan a month in sales.

    Guo and Brother Pomegranate are part of a counterflow of migrants heading back to the countryside after decades of exodus to the cities. Douyin says 54% of its rural influencers are ‘fanxiang qingnian,’ or returning youth.

    The number of farmers broadcasting in China is huge and growing fast. More than 100,000 farmers streamed 2.52 million sessions on Alibaba Group’s Taobao Live in the year ended in March. Douyin’s agricultural content creators with more than 10,000 followers rose sixfold in 2019-20 from the year before.

    E-commerce experts and livestreamers say the secret to success is a mix of city dwellers’ nostalgia for nature, distrust in traditional markets because of food safety scandals, and the entertainment of watching unique rustic personalities.

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    In This Story: China

    China is the third largest country in the world by area and the largest country in the world by population. Properly known as the People’s Republic of China, the political territory of the country includes the former nations of Tibet and Hong Kong. The capital is Beijing.

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  • In This Story: TikTok

    TikTok, known in China as Douyin, is a Chinese video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based Internet technology company founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. It is used to create short music, lip-sync, dance, comedy and talent videos of 3 to 15 seconds, and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds.

    ByteDance first launched Douyin for the Chinese market in September 2016. Later, TikTok was launched in 2017 for iOS and Android in most markets outside of mainland China; however, it only became available worldwide, including the United States, after merging with another Chinese social media service on 2 August 2018.

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