Foreigners in Livestreaming

No place for us

I reported earlier (https://blog.strategy4china.com/2020/09/livestreaming-in-china/) about the huge livestreaming market in China; well no foreigners in Livestreaming in China allowed, in any form.

As one of the many discriminations foreigners face in China, only Chinese ID holders can appear in livestreaming. Can you imagine that would be applied somehow in Western countries?

Xiaohongshu ruled that no foreign people will be allowed in front of a camera during live streams. It appears that this will not only apply to foreigners of non-Asian descent, but also East Asians who look like Chinese, such as Koreans and Japanese, according to users’ social media posts discussing the matter.
Source: https://thred.com/tech/chinese-face-tracking-tech-bans-foreigners-from-live-streaming/

Inke followed in the footsteps of Douyin and Kwai (Kuaishou).
Douyin, the Chinese sister app of TikTok, also bans accounts that featured foreigners when active streams are found and reported.

Constant monitoring

Official documents from TikTok’s parent company ByteDance have confirmed rumours that the viral video app is constantly running facial recognition technology to monitor and censor content on Douyin – China’s version of the platform.

Douyin may appear innocuous on the surface, but Chinese streamers are subject to an intrusive regime of automated surveillance every time they broadcast on the app. China’s Ministry of Culture had made noise pertaining to the banning of foreigners in livestreams back in 2017, but the rule has only started being enforced since China’s Security Law came into effect this July 2020.

A few weeks ago, a foreign national found himself booted from Douyin within ‘about a minute’ for appearing briefly in someone else’s livestream, and his story garnered a fair bit of attention online. His wife, who is a Chinese citizen, was broadcasting from their Beijing apartment and sidled over to ask how his day was going when the stream suddenly went dark. The foreigner took to Twitter to reveal that the pair had been met with an error message forbidding the presence of foreign users without ‘government permission’.

Kuaishou today

Had a look again at Kuaishou. That’s the only app I still have for this.

I am always a bit lost, as all in Chinese. Most of the screenshots are of recorded clips. The one with the cook is lifestreaming; you see me “entering the room”, bjprc. Notice how many people are following/commenting/joining…

Livestreaming in China

Big business

Livestreaming in China is big business.
See here:

Top 5 Apps You Need To Know https://pandaily.com/livestreaming-in-china-top-5-apps-you-need-to-know/ – Posted on July 17, 2020

It is estimated that more than 520 million people watch user-generated livestreams in China in 2020.
In 2019, the total revenue of livestreaming e-commerce industry reached 433.8 billion yuan, and it is expected to increase to 916 billion yuan by 2020. What sets livestreaming apart from other methods of marketing is its straightforward, highly targeted and efficient delivery of real-time content.
The top five:

  1. Inke was launched in May 2015 with the slogan that anyone can livestream and currently has over 25.5 million monthly active users
  2. Taobao Live is Alibaba Group’s dedicated livestreaming e-commerce channel.
  3. DouYu which literally translates into “Fighting Fish”, is an app by DouYu TV and was first launched in 2014. DouYu, the largest game-streaming platform in China, is backed by both Tencent and Phoenix Media.
  4. KuaiShou, literally meaning “fast hand”, which is also known as ‘Kwai’, was first launched in 2011 as ‘GIF KuaiShou’. It changed its name and function to what we know today in 2014.
  5. This #1 app spot should come as no surprise to many, and it rightly belongs to Douyin (or for the uninitiated, Chinese precursor to TikTok).

YINKE

October 2019: Yinke is the leader in the live streaming market in China. It’s the number one Live Streaming APP in China. As of October 14th, it was just ahead of QQ and below Alipay in terms of downloads on the Apple Store.
However, after using it for a while, my Apple shop informed me: “The item you’ve requested is not currently available in the Belgian store”.
Not sure why… I then tried a bit KuaiShou (still working).
I cannot download Douyin. I did try TikTok but not able to “register” and use. Not clear why.

A Wild East

Livestreaming already became a hot topic in 2016, see this China Daily article:
20 December 2016 – Live streaming offers instant fame
By Xinhua | China Daily
http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2016-12/20/content_27722542.htm

See also this article from 2016 where foreigners still appeared:
161016 LivestreaminginChina
Source: WalktheChat

There is/was a lot of strange stuff on livestreaming in China. See here some earlier screenshots, many “trans”, and many girls with a huge following. It’s big business as followers spend (a lot of) money to send “gifts” to their preferred girls (or boys).

I looked a bit around out of curiosity, even tried some posts but then gave up. Not my favorite pastime.

A booming market

More insight on how it started years ago:

“Click state: inside the machine churning out stars for China’s voracious live-streaming appetite.  With revenue set to surpass box office takings, online hosting is big business, spawning an entire industry offering training, work space and even loans for cosmetic surgery to women.”
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2087149/click-state-inside-machine-churning-out-stars-chinas-voracious

and:

“China live streaming: Would-be internet stars boost billion-dollar market”
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-internet-livestreaming-idUSKBN17E0EV

More to report in next post!

Seven questions interview

In my Beijing office

On 13 September 2020 I had a “Seven questions interview” in my office by a crew of Shenzhou Magazine.

 

The 7 questions submitted: 200913 interview_questions

I had to show and explain my “picture wall” in the office and show some of my photo picture albums. Some of the pics in the video show scenes shot in December 1980 in Changchun, and pictures of my office in the Beijing Hotel in the early eighties.
The video of the interview came out a bit later, very professional but of course with the usual clever editing removing any comments that could sound “negative”. Still well done. See further.

Entities involved:

中国产学研合作促进会
China Industry-University-Research Institute Collaboration Association
website: http://www.ciur.org.cn/
Weixin ID: ciur-china

《神州》杂志是由中国文学艺术界联合会主管、中国通俗文学研究会主办的国内外公开发行的中央大型文化新闻类旬刊。
“Shenzhou” magazine is a large-scale central cultural news magazine issued at home and abroad, hosted by the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and sponsored by the China Popular Literature Research Association.
Weixin ID: szmag09

Interview posted

The video is on the “新创视点”public account (“New Point of View”), link:
https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/9zbqv7TC3jd4EHwEoD9gXw

See here the Chinese text and an approximate translation: 200913 interview_posted

You can watch the complete video here: https://youtu.be/H4Ghb2w3JK4
(need VPN in China)

CIFTIS and expat confidence

Loss of confidence

In an earlier post I mentioned CIFTIS and expat confidence. We have a problem.

There is a need to restore confidence in the foreign business community so there can be an efficient cooperation in the service sector. In my little group of the “Old China Hands” I get feedback from expats about discrimination, even xenophobia, against foreigners who are wrongly considered to be the “dangerous virus carriers” importing COVID-19. This is totally baseless as the vast majority of foreigners cannot return to China since March. The very few who can re-enter are subject to stringent health checks. All dangerous “imported” virus cases are from returning Chinese nationals. The government has failed to clarify this, leading to many misunderstandings. As such the “opening up” and other talk is just hot air.
In our expat community I see with sadness many abandoning China, disappointed.

How we feel in China

Also Green Card holders complain about the discrimination, being refused access to hotels, most major hospitals and even restaurants, among others. Because we are “dangerous” people. Imagine Western countries would act the same way against Chinese people. That would unleash a storm of protest.

Another issue, in Beijing, is the lack of service staff, increasing salary costs and affecting quality of service. It is an issue that does not receive any attention from authorities and neither from foreign chambers of commerce. All while many Chinese are desperately looking for a job.

See:
How coronavirus has made travel in China a whole lot harder for foreigners: Travel restrictions in China have gradually eased as the country has brought the coronavirus pandemic under control. But that has not made finding a hotel any easier for foreign residents, one South China Morning Post reporter found.
https://www.scmp.com/economy/article/3101181/how-coronavirus-has-made-travel-china-whole-lot-harder-foreigners

Nobody offers help

Embassies and foreign chambers of commerce offer no help to rectify the discrimination. We are simply ignored. Many foreigners struggle to come back but attention is paid to mostly the big companies only. Furthermore most chambers have more and more Chinese members who don’t care about foreigners and do not dare to criticize their government.

In Beijing we can actually complain about discrimination through the hotline 12345. They have English service. Most foreigners do not dare to complain however. Chinese colleagues do not help at all.

Many expats giving up on China face the trauma to recover their belongings. The Japanese again are the most creative:
10 September 2020 – Expats retrieve possessions in China through ‘remote transfer’
By ATSUSHI OKUDERA –  Correspondent Asahi Shimbun
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13669804

A service that allows strangers to rifle through one’s belongings is proving popular among Japanese expatriates trying to retrieve their possessions from China during the pandemic.

More INDUS interviews

Skype video or audio

Recently I had more INDUS interviews. Indus news is first international news channel of Pakistan.
Depending on their technical situation we use Skype video or audio with the mobile.

Program on 15 April 2020

“As the coronavirus disrupts businesses all over the world, it also offers an opportunity for online businesses and e-commerce. We take a look at how the world of online shopping is being impacted by the  pandemic. We also discuss the necessary pre-cautions that sellers and consumers need to take in order to observe SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure)  and avoid any form of transmission.”
Its a recorded program by Meshal Malik.
Link of the program: https://youtu.be/2JxpmiMg9GA

Climate change & income inequality

Meshal Malik was again the host on Indus News on 4 August 2020. My focus was Climate change & income inequality, themes in my book Toxic Capitalism (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0792X896M/)

See the link: https://youtu.be/jdYt43JuMnU
Indus Special | Parents’ role in education | Climate change & income inequality | Ep 411| Indus News