Top Chinese livestreamers are flocking to overseas TikToK

Crazy Little Brother Yang has just become the first in what could be a wave of Chinese livestreamers moving to tap into the overseas e-commerce market. Crazy Little Brother Yang, who is known for his larger-than-life comedic antics, was the first livestreamer to reach 100 million subscribers on Douyin, TikTok’s separate sister app in China.

Crazy Little Brother Yang held his first overseas broadcast on Singaporean TikTok on January 15. The inaugural TikTok post teases the channel’s burgeoning foreign fanbase with the title, “First stop Singapore, next stop??? Where do you want to go, brothers?”. 

Yang’s team has been gearing up for a TikTok debut since 2022, when it established a global MCN agency with a strategic focus on TikTok, including setting up local logistics partnerships in Singapore. TikTok’s e-commerce solution, TikTok Shop, has seen huge success across Southeast Asia, making the region the obvious starting point for Yang’s overseas venture. TikTok’s largest market is Indonesia, making it a likely “next stop” for the channel.

“We analysed a large amount of data and found that our content has been welcomed by many foreign users on TikTok who understand Chinese language and culture,” the CEO of Yang’s company, Sanyang Holdings Ltd., explained. “Some fake accounts have even accumulated millions of fans. This means we can understand each other in terms of content, and it is relatively easy to convert.”

Yang is not the only major Chinese livestreamer planning to break into TikTok. The former tutoring company Oriental Selection (also known as East Buy), now one of Douyin’s biggest channels, is recruiting for a raft of TikTok-related positions, job listings reveal.

Oriental Selection and Crazy Little Brother Yang have both suffered PR crises in the last two months. Viewers lampooned the “vulgar” selling style of one of Yang’s apprentices back in October, while Oriental Selection recently fans called out the channel for mistreating one of its top presenters, leading the CEO to eventually step down. This is part of a wider change in the public perception of successful livestreamers in China, who now have their every move picked apart by viewers.

Moving to TikTok could be a way for livestreamers to salvage their careers away from the watchful gaze of the Chinese internet. On top of this, the growth rate of Chinese platforms is slowing down in terms of both GMV and users, making now the perfect time to invest in their overseas counterparts.


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