Will CEO Livestreaming Work For Luxury Brands?

The Chinese livestreaming industry has seen some big names join the game over the past three months. Right after influencers and celebrities entered the fray, founders and major business heads also jumped into hosting livestreaming sessions. That includes Zhang Chaoyang (the CEO of Sohu), Li Yanhong (the founder of Baidu), Dong Mingzhu (the Chairwoman of Gree Electric), and Liang Jianzhang (The Chairman of Ctrip). These business giants all joined livestreaming with varying missions: to sell products, promote a new brand, or talk about their success. But despite a lack of professional training and experience, these CEOs did amazingly well in their first livestreams. For instance, after Li Yanhong’s livestream promotion of Baidu’s new livestream platform, the company’s market value surged to $12 billion.

Jing Take:

A livestream host requires a different set of professional skills than a CEO does. However, they share some common traits to success: personal charisma, language skills, and credibility. Moreover, unlike professional livestreaming influencers like Li Jiaqi and Viya, Chinese netizens are already familiar with the CEO of a legendary business before they even step into a livestreaming session. This unprecedented crossover is a novel thing for audiences, so it draws a lot of attention to livestreaming events. Luxury brand CEOs from overseas markets and their creative designers might not have the same fan base that Chinese CEOs do, while language or cultural barriers could also be roadblocks to connecting with China’s consumers. These are the challenges that Western luxury brands need to think about before they put their CEO on camera in front of a Chinese audience.

The Jing Take reports on a leading piece of news while presenting our editorial team’s analysis of its key implications for the luxury industry. In this recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debates that sprout up on Chinese social media.


CEOs, Market Analysis