Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau Tak-wah’s latest online concert on ByteDance-owned short video service Douyin has set a record 350 million viewers, as it swept the platform’s mainland Chinese users on a wave of Canto-pop nostalgia.
The two-hour concert was live-streamed on Saturday evening by Douyin, the Chinese sister app of TikTok, initially attracting about 100 million viewers within a half-hour and then quickly drawing hundreds of millions more before it concluded.
“I hope everyone has more than 10,000 years of love. I love you all,” Lau said before performing the popular song Ai Ni Yi Wan Nian, which translates to “Love You for 10,000 Years” in English.
Lau’s latest online concert, where he also performed hit Mando-pop songs Ice Rain and It’s Not a Crime For a Man to Cry, surpassed his previous Douyin record of more than 100 million viewers who saw his online concert in July 2021, when he celebrated 40 years in show business.
“Every time I’m on stage, I hope I can make real eye contact with [the audience],” he said during the concert in between songs. “I hope that soon there will be no more pandemic in the world, so I can get close to [the audience] to perform.”
His concert triggered wide discussion on Chinese social media platforms, where a number of posts waxed nostalgic about the glory days of Canto-pop. Soon after the event kicked off at 8pm on Saturday, related topics such as “Andy Lau online concert” trended on microblogging service Weibo.
The number of viewers of Lau’s latest concert increased by 60 million to 410 million as of Sunday afternoon, as more Douyin users watched its replay.
For Douyin, Lau’s concert on Saturday surpassed the online viewership numbers set by other Chinese-language singers – including Hong Kong singer-songwriter Eason Chan Yik-shun, Singaporean pop star Stefanie Sun Yan-zi and Malaysian songstress Fish Leong Jing-ru – who performed on the platform’s series of online concerts this summer. Chan’s concert in late August, for example, reached an online audience of 120 million.
The series of online concerts marked Douyin’s increased effort to attract more users across the mainland, where it competes against Tencent Holdings’ ubiquitous super app WeChat and China’s No 2 short video service operated by Kuaishou Technology.
In late June, more than 44 million WeChat users tuned in for an online concert by the Backstreet Boys, a US pop band that was hugely popular in China in the 1990s and 2000s. Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou in May had two concerts broadcast on Channels – with the first event drawing 47 million viewers, while the second generated an audience of 25 million.
Still, Lau has become the undisputed top draw in terms of viewer numbers in China’s new online concert wars.
After setting up his Douyin account in January 2021, Lau quickly became become one of the platform’s most active influencers. Lau’s followers on Douyin tripled to nearly 77 million after his latest concert, up from more than 26 million when he started last year.
Chinese billionaire Lei Jun, founder and chief executive of smartphone giant Xiaomi, on Saturday posted on Weibo a photo of him and Lau, whom he described as “a forever idol”.
One Douyin user, meanwhile, posted on the comment section of the concert that he “owed” Lau a ticket for a future offline concert.