Douyin’s e-commerce clampdown: platform cancels controversial sales star Xinba

What Happened: Popular livestream anchor Xin Youzhi, known as Xinba and ‘sales king,’ was banned by Douyin at noon on November 2 for repeatedly publishing false information, insulting people, and provoking conflict on China’s version of TikTok, according to Chinese news outlet The Paper, which quoted people familiar with the issue.

His Douyin account, operating under the identifier XYZI818 and boasting over 4.15 million fans, disappeared one hour after he had started a broadcast selling various goods. 

On November 1, Xinba accused Douyin during a livestream of double standards, saying: “I don’t care about this platform, nor do I care about Douyin’s traffic. You can erase everything about me. I don’t care.”

The ban comes as the Singles’ Day (Double 11) shopping festival gets underway.

Screenshots of top livestream anchor Xinba during his live broadcast room. Image: Xinba’s Weibo

The Jing Take: In 2020, Xinba was caught misselling sugar water as bird’s nest soup, an expensive delicacy in China made from the solidified saliva of swiftlets, on short video platform Kuaishou. His account was banned for 60 days. 

More recently, he was embroiled in a dispute with a mattress company he was collaborating with, later terminating the tie-up. The distributor had complained Xinba was selling its products too cheaply, denting its profit. The mattresses are usually sold at $2,730 (20,000 RMB) each in offline retail stores, while Xinba sold them at less than $680 (5,000 RMB) on Kuaishou.

Earlier this year, Douyin introduced new regulations governing anchors’ online behavior, including bans on vulgar chat, unfair competition, and malicious speculation. 

The action against Xinba is a sign that the social commerce giant is clamping down on sellers to improve the quality of its livestreaming space.

It is not known how long the ban will last. The severity of the violation determines the length of the punishment.

At the Douyin E-commerce Creator 2023 Summit, held in September, the short video’s e-commerce president Wei Wenwen said the platform would endeavor to achieve a healthy sales ecosystem comprising “good content, good products, and good services.”

Top anchors are now under heightened scrutiny. But clearly, the change is for the better. 

Douyin e-commerce, renowned for its low prices and low-quality products, urgently needs to improve its reputation and earn trust if it is to attract consumers and brands. 

If it doesn’t, it will lose market share to Taobao and Xiaohongshu in this lucrative sector.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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Consumer Insights, Influencers, Market Analysis