Popular livestreamer ‘Crazy Little Brother Yang’ has become Douyin’s first-ever personal account to exceed 100 million followers, becoming the platform’s No. 1 Internet celebrity.
Previously, Douyin had no personal accounts with over 100 million followers. Only institutional accounts such as People’s Daily and CCTV News reached 160 million and 150 million followers respectively.
Yang first rose to fame on Douyin with his humorous videos in which he role played a number of different zany characters in a family, from an internet-addicted teenager to a crazy mom. Then, in May of 2020, his popularity soared even higher when he started selling goods on livestreams. Given his naturally funny personality, Yang came off as sincere which gained him his fans’ trust.
Compared to other giant livestreamers, Yang seems to be faring quite well. Although Li Jiaqi’s follower count has reached about 170 million on Taobao, Douyin, Xiaohongshu and other platforms, his Taobao followers only add up to 70.94 million. Meanwhile, Kuaishou ‘sales king’ Simba has remained at around 98 million followers, not yet passing the 100 million mark.
Despite the massive following count, however, Yang’s high traffic has not resulted in a GMV of corresponding scale. According to data released by Paidai, Yang’s sales have fallen behind educational group New Oriental, now ranking second. In September, New Oriental’s sales amounted to 500-750 million RMB ($69-$103 million) while Yang’s sales ranged around 250-500 million RMB ($34-$69 million).
Compared to Taobao Live’s transaction-based model, Douyin’s algorithm is more decentralised and content-based, which provides the perfect recipe to becoming an overnight internet sensation. With Douyin’s 600 million daily active users, livestreamers can benefit from explosive growth. However, where Douyin lacks, is that its audience is still chasing after content and still not in the shopping mindset. By contrast, Taobao Live has clearly defined users who have more shopping tendencies.
Overall, as the newly-crowned traffic king Yang basks in his latest milestone, Douyin’s main challenge looking forward will be to strike a balance between rolling out its e-commerce strategy while maintaining its high-quality level of entertainment.