May 17, 2019 -- White yaks in Tianzhu Tibetan autonomous county (Photo/CRI online)
May 17, 2019 -- A Chinese man in Tianzhu Tibetan autonomous county of Wuwei City, northwest China’s Gansu Province, sold 1.5 million yuan ($220,000) worth of local white yak products in 2018 by showing his processing workshops and local life via webcasts.
Zhang Xingsheng, also known by his fans and customers as “the yak guy”, is a 34-year-old webcast host who sells local white yak products on Taobao Live, a live-streaming platform of China’s popular online shopping website Taobao. During last year’s Singles’ Day (also known as “Double 11”) shopping spree, Zhang completed transactions of over 1.1 million yuan.
With an area of 4 square meters, Zhang’s room for webcasting is not big, but cozy. “Normally we make four webcasts a week, with each lasting for about two hours,” said Zhang. He explained that at first, they didn’t attract many viewers, but after he started to show things like the processing workshops, the mountainous grassland where the yaks graze, and the life of the herdsmen, people became fascinated.
Zhang set up his own company in his hometown to sell local specialties including white yak products, ginseng fruit, and quinoa on e-commerce platforms in September 2016. Before that, he had been working for an airplane manufacturer in east China after graduating from junior college in 2009.
Being away from home for a long time made him feel lonely, said Zhang, disclosing that his father passed away when he was in the first year of high school, and he missed seeing his grandfather for the last time while he was away. He decided it was important to quit his job and move closer to his family.
Zhang suffered setbacks when he first opened three online stores on e-commerce platforms, and went on to lose almost all of his savings.
However, in June 2017, Zhang opened a webcast account on Taobao Live.
“My first webcast had less than 20 viewers, so I went to watch how popular webcast hosts interact with viewers and started to learn from them,” said Zhang, disclosing that he was the only member of his company then, playing the roles of boss and employee at the same time.
Now, Zhang has more than 14,000 followers on Taobao Live. Besides the efforts of Zhang’s e-commerce team, his success can also be attributed to support from the local county government and the help of an e-commerce company in north China’s Tianjin Municipality, which was brought in to help develop e-commerce in the local area by the commerce departments of Tianjin and Gansu. The company has worked with Zhang’s own company since September 2018, making plans to further promote Zhang’s products via webcasts.
After more than a year's experience in live-streaming, Zhang has mastered the secret of being a successful e-commerce webcast host. He explained, “after interacting with so many netizens, I’ve felt the enormous vigor of China’s consumer market. People are now paying more attention to the quality of goods, rather than the price.”
“Online live-streaming programmes show people real materials and the ecology of the place of production. I believe our sales will double this year, reaching 3 million yuan,” said Zhang.