What is New Oriental And Can It Crack China’s Beauty Livestream Industry?

What Happened: Oriental Select, the livestream ecommerce arm of Chinese online teaching company New Oriental, has launched a new Douyin account focusing on beauty and personal care products. Its account description highlights “beauty tips” and “authentic product reviews,” indicating the company’s potential foray into the beauty sector. Earlier this month, the buzzy-worthy channel went viral on Douyin after one of its teachers, Dong Yuhui, hosted a bilingual livestreaming session, attracting 12 million viewers and $3.12 million in gross merchandise value.

Established in 1993, Beijing-based parent company New Oriental set up its livestreaming arm in December 2021. With a content-driven approach, it distinguishes itself from the typical livestreams introducing product features and captivating discounts, offering free English, history, and culture lessons instead. 

Oriental Select teaches English words while helping viewers shop online. Photo: Oriental Select’s Douyin

The Jing Take: As the livestream industry is saturated in China, the rivalries within it are fierce. According to the 2021 China Livestream Industry Report released by iiMedia Research, the viewing time for dull and homogenized content is short; therefore, high quality and distinctive content is needed to get users to stay longer. Beauty, especially, has always been a go-to category for live e-commerce due to its accessible prices and huge market opportunity.

In addition to “King of Lipstick” Li Jiaqi, who became a household name by promoting beauty products on his livestream channel, almost all top Chinese hosts sell cosmetics. And now, leading brands in the sector have started investing in their own livestream channels instead of merely betting on top livestreamers, given their uncertainties. This comes after “Queen of Livestreaming” Huang Wei (professionally known as Viya) was fined $210.2 million (1.34 billion RMB) for tax evasion last year, and Li’s channel was suddenly shut down on June 3. 

Oriental Select made its name by selling agricultural products and books. Will it now be able to convince beauty shoppers to purchase lipsticks or eye shadow palettes? So far, the channel has driven substantial social buzz with its unique livestreaming approach. Let’s see how long it can sustain the hype. 

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.


Beauty, Companies