Oriental Selection breaks away from Douyin with app and membership

Oriental Selection (formerly private education company New Oriental), is experimenting with hosting its popular travel-themed e-commerce livestreams on its new independent app.

On July 12, Oriental Selection (Dongfang Zhenxuan) held a livestream on its independent app for the first time. Founder and president Yu Minhong has previously called creators operating on external platforms a highly vulnerable business model. This has led commentators to speculate that, with the recent spike in activity on the Oriental Selection app, he eventually wishes to depart from Douyin and form a separate content empire.

However, Yu has denied that the move signifies aggressive expansion plans. “Oriental Selection’s own app and our work on the Douyin platform are both great achievements. The creation of a platform is a normal behaviour of a company and we hope that people will not over-interpret it.”

Other reports call the move a “crisis” for Douyin, which has been trying to break into the growing local life services sector. Its main rival Meituan has stepped up its threat level further by launching fully integrated video sharing and editing functions on its platform recently. Top-performing commerce channels like Oriental Selection moving off the platform would challenge Douyin’s position as the go-to third-party hub.

Oriental Selection has also announced it will be pursuing a membership scheme in the vein of Sam’s Club or Costco. Sam’s Club is an American warehouse chain where shoppers can stock up on a huge range of goods in large quantities and receive discounts by paying a yearly membership fee. The chain is popular in China, spurred by the stockpiling of groceries and other household necessities during COVID restrictions. Under this scheme, Oriental Selection viewers who usually purchase products online via livestream could drop into local stores to grab the channel’s recommended items at reduced prices.  

For now, it looks like Oriental Selection will continue to develop its presence across both Douyin and its independent app, molding a distinctive identity and purpose for each platform to serve the wider goals of the company.


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