Oriental Selection stock dips 5% as Dong Yuhui exits Weibo following underwear controversy

On 27 February, investors found that the stock of educator-turned-livestreamer Oriental Selection had dropped 5%. This happened soon after Dong Yuhui, the company’s biggest livestreamer, now streaming on his own channel, had cleared his Weibo account. Weibo is the Twitter equivalent in China.

The two events came after the underwear controversy from the day before, where Dong’s social commerce channel listed women’s underwear for sale but Dong glossed over the items by saying “you can buy them if you need them” before moving on. Viewers insistently requested Dong introduce the merchandise, which came close to heckling with some jokingly saying it’s unprofessional for Dong to ignore the products. Dong rejected the request 3 times while asking not to be put on the spot.

Dong responded afterwards saying that he felt shy and embarrassed talking about underwear, men’s or women’s alike. This got Dong on Weibo’s Hot Search list multiple times, with “Dong Yuhui refuses to introduce underwear 3 times” (#董宇辉三拒讲解内衣裤#) which shot to number 1 with 240 million views and “Dong Yuhui says not introducing underwear was just shyness” (#董宇辉说不讲内衣就是害羞#) got to number 2 with 200 million views. Dong later said in the livestream that he hated Hot Searches anyway, which he appeared in over 200 times in 2023, and that he would quit Weibo. The rest is proverbial history.

Dong’s popularity has been soaring since his own channel opened in January after the “essayette” controversy at the end of last year, making him one of the top streamers on Douyin, TikTok’s sister app in China. Before the Chinese New Year, both veteran Hong Kong actor and singer Andy Lau and legendary film director Zhang Yimou went on Dong’s channel to promote their respective new films. On the first livestream after CNY, Dong raked in at least 25 million RMB (3.47 million USD) in just 6 hours, with 120,000 new followers. In the past month, Walking with Hui gained 3.12 million new followers while Oriental Selection lost 250,000.

Oriental Selection as a company is increasingly reliant on Dong, while Oriental Selection as a brand is being pushed to the side after Dong’s independence. It comes as no surprise that Dong’s controversy and the Hot Searches it spawned can cost the company 5% of its value. Whether Dong’s retreat from Weibo would help the brand focus on Douyin remains to be seen. But the question pundits are watching more closely is whether Oriental Selection will double down on Dong’s personal popularity or try to diversify.


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