When most people think about countryside life, they envision plowing fields, feeding farm animals, and other grueling work. But China is seeing a new type of farm work becoming popular: livestreaming.
Yes, farmers livestreaming their work has become a hit in China – so much so that one of the country’s biggest ecommerce platforms has set up a special program to train them. Alibaba has announced that it’s planning a special poverty alleviation program for Taobao sellers in the countryside, including incubating 1,000 farmer livestreamers.
Taobao introduced livestreaming on its app in 2016. Since then, it has seen an explosion of livestreamers selling everything, from the latest fashion brands to gourmet insect larvae. It has since become a new way for farmers in China’s poor rural areas to reach customers. In the last three years, around 100,000 livestreamers have promoted farm products on Taobao, according to the company.
One livestreamer recently managed to sell 1 million kilos of oranges in just 13 days, according to reports. Chen Jiubei, who goes under the username Xiangxi Jiumei, streams herself on Taobao doing farm work, talking about her cured meat or eggs or just making meals in her humble countryside home.
Meanwhile, other platforms like Kuaishou have joined the countryside-streaming trend. This is very different from the US and Europe, where livestreaming and ecommerce platforms are still worlds apart.
So what draws people to peek into village life? Some people tune in to check where the product they’re buying comes from, with sellers reassuring them that farm products are grown in a natural way and in an area without pollution – something that is becoming increasingly important for Chinese shoppers.
Others tune in to be entertained or just because they miss the countryside life. In any case, farmers can up their sales significantly. And sometimes the farmers can even become web celebrities.
Two farmer brothers raising bamboo rats, a type of rodent that’s considered a delicacy in South China, have become meme-worthy after their vlog on Watermelon Video went viral.
In their videos, the two brothers come up with a hilarious reason why a particular bamboo rat should be eaten: feeling a bit sickly, not handling the hot weather too well, or rat is too fat, skinny, or darn pretty. There’s just no escaping its destiny once it’s been chosen.
“I’m not pretty, I’m the ugliest one among us.” (left) “The ugly ones are tasty.” (right) / Photo credit: Weibo
The brothers’ peculiar set of criteria for selecting a bamboo rat has become so popular that it was turned into a mobile game. Moreover, the sales of rodents shot up, inspiring other farmers to try their luck at livestreaming.