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In this April 27, 2020, photo, Song Huiyan shows her fashion dresses for her online clients during the live-streaming at her clothing shop in Beijing. Photo: AP

The birthplace of WeChat now wants to become China’s live streaming capital by offering rewards

  • The incentives cover individual influencers and newly-established live streaming enterprises who move to the area

Live streaming is driving a bigger share of online consumption in China and now a local authority has gone one step further by offering people rewards if they can make a success of it.

Guangzhou, the birthplace of China’s ubiquitous social media platform WeChat, has announced an incentive plan to boost e-commerce live streaming development in the city, aimed at fostering new influencer stars and helping it become China’s live streaming capital.

The government of Huadu District in Guangzhou is offering local live streamers who can attract more than half a million followers online and generate annual sales in excess of 10 million yuan (US$1.4 million), a 100,000 yuan allowance towards buying a house, according to an announcement released last week on the government's official WeChat account. Those who rack up annual sales over 20 million yuan and 50 million can receive 300,000 and 500,000 yuan respectively towards a house purchase in the local area.

The incentives cover individual influencers and newly-established live streaming enterprises who move to the area. Online platforms, multi channel networks (MCN) and live streaming e-commerce brokerage companies can receive up to 12 million yuan in cash incentives if they set up in the district. Businesses with annual turnover of more than 500 million yuan can receive grants worth up to 10 million yuan if they locate there.

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“In 2020, the district of Huadu aims to have 10 influential live streaming industrial parks with 100 online live streaming stores and more than 1,000 influencers,” said a government statement on Saturday. “And we will aim to have online retail sales in excess of 100 billion yuan.”

Like most of WeChat’s functions beyond messaging, live streaming is built upon a mini program and it already has tens of thousands of registered merchants, according to WeChat. Last week, Conghua district in Guangzhou announced a similar incentive plan to Huadu’s for the development of live streaming e-commerce.

Live streaming has boomed in China as Covid-19 and related lockdowns dealt a further blow to offline shopping.

There were more than 4 million e-commerce live-streaming shows in China in the first quarter this year, according to the country’s ministry of commerce. According to a report published in April by Citic Securities, the gross transaction volume of e-commerce live streaming will surpass one trillion yuan in three years.