Operators shrug off ban on young livestreamers

Business | Victor Zhong 18 May 2021

China is to ban livestreamers under the age of 16 but analysts expect the new curbs - which take effect next Tuesday - will put little pressure on video service providers.

Minors aged over 16 who want to become livestream marketers or live broadcast room operators must obtain the consent of their guardians, under the new rules.

Kenny Wen Kit, an analyst at wealth management strategist of Everbright Sun Hung Kai, expects little impact from the latest curb on video service providers.

The new restriction is similar to age restrictions on mobile games, which require real-name authentication and includes warnings to users who play for more than three hours, Wen said.

Despite the newly announced policy, mainland short video service provider Kuaishou (1024) rose 1.53 percent to HK$225.20.

The new policy will also include measures such as arranging special personnel for real-time inspections and extending the storage time of live content from key live broadcast room operators with large numbers of fans and large transaction amounts, which may strengthen the supervision of top live streamers such as Li Jiaqi and Viya.

Known as the "King of Lipstick" in the mainland, Li once sold 15,000 tubes of lipstick in just five minutes on Taobao's live-stream services.

Viya, whose real name is Huang Wei, sold a rocket launch for around 40 million yuan (HK$48.23 million) via live streaming in April 2020.

Online marketing including live streaming and short videos from influencers have become a hit in the mainland in recent years.

In Beijing, a post-90s opinion leader named Yan Yan (Pinyin) has more than 4 million followers on social media platform Weibo.

Yan has an online celebrity incubation company with more than 10 staff. She said the company has received invitations from advertisers and she selects her partners in accordance to the laws of the land and their brand image.

Lin Xiaoyao, who operates a school for "key opinion leaders," said livestreams are as good as online sales as users respond more quickly.

He teaches online sales theory and coaches people who want to be internet celebrities.

A researcher in Guangzhou said it is difficult to monitor the livestream industry as it involves massive content and large numbers of backline staff and the authorities need to flesh out the details of the new policy, such as setting up a reporting system.

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