'Give and take' scenario works for Henan flooding donorTop News | Victor Zhong 27 Jul 2021
A low-profile mainland sportswear maker attracted more than two million viewers to its livestreaming shopping channel and saw sales soar 52-fold after it announced a donation of 50 million yuan (HK$59.99 million) in flood-relief supplies and other aid for Henan province.
People online obviously held the scale of that contribution in high regard compared to Erke's larger domestic rivals, including Anta Sports' 50 million yuan and Li Ning's announcement of a contribution worth 250 million yuan, as there was an outpouring of support for the company's products.
An online comment on Erke's Weibo post announcing the donation received top ranking. It reads: "It feels like you're going out of business, but you donated so much."
Erke's charity move did not get much attention in the beginning.
The post had only about 100 comments the night it was released. However, the post soon went viral and triggered a massive buying frenzy for the company's products.
With many enterprises and celebrities rushing to do their bit for Henan flood victims in a show of patriotism, the charity move from Erke unexpectedly brought huge advertising benefits for a company that has received little recent publicity.
The day following its post on Weibo, however, its live streaming channel on Taobao, Alibaba's e-commerce platform, brought about 2.01 million viewers where usually there were less than 10,000.
Chief executive Wu Rongzhao, who rode a bicycle to the broadcast room that night, called on people to "consume rationally" and buy goods only when necessary.
The advice failed to curb the enthusiasm online, with jokes being bandied about that Wu should not to be a "busybody" and that there would be "wild consumption" instead of the rational one he called for.
The boom continued on Friday evening, when its broadcasting channel drew nearly 8.83 million viewers.
Data also show that Erke sold goods worth more than 67 million yuan on all of its social media platforms in 36 hours.
Although its inventory levels were quickly depleted, the boom was unabated.
A livestream viewer even commented in the chatbox: "Put the raw materials directly up for sale and we'll sew them ourselves."
On the offline side, shoppers swarmed Erke's brick-and-mortar outlets.
In Tianjin, southeast of Beijing, a throng was seen shopping in Erke's store while nearby shops were deserted, a video posted on Youtube showed.
In another video posted on Weibo, a barber shaped Erke's logo on the hair of a customer buying clothes in Erke's online shop, which delighted the customer.