EYESHENZHEN  /   Opinion

Livestreaming talents welcomed

Writer: Winton Dong  |  Editor: Jane Chen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2020-07-13

Shanghai's Chongming District Government published a directive on June 29 that confirms Li Jiaqi, an online celebrity who is widely known as China's best lipstick seller, as a special talent who has qualified to apply for the city's hukou, or household registration.

With the quickening pace of China's urbanization process, some smaller cities in the country are loosening their traditional rigid hukou application systems, aiming to enlarge the scope of cities and enhance the free flow of the working force in the country. Nevertheless, a permanent residence permit in metropolitan cities such as Beijing and Shanghai has not been an easy task for most people to achieve.

Shanghai's new directive signals not only the thriving of livestreaming in commerce and trade, but also the changing attitude of government towards emerging industries. According to news reports, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security has recently added nine new professions including livestreaming talents, block chain professionals, online learning teachers, community health assistants and information security testers to the official occupations list recognized by the government agency.

Once a subculture phenomenon, livestreaming is now more than just for games and entertainment. It serves as a digital transforming tool utilized by traditional businesses and as a powerful channel for e-commerce development. Such an interactive approach to entice customers has rapidly grown in popularity recently thanks to various factors such as the ubiquity of smartphones, convenient Internet connectivity and an increasing penchant among young consumers to socialize virtually.

China has become the biggest powerhouse of the global online influencer economy, which, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, generated more than US$7.9 billion revenue last year. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on brick-and-mortar stores all over the world, livestreaming is showing its strength as it is regarded by industry players as a way for expanding their enterprise undertakings beyond the virus-battered economy.

In addition to Shanghai, some other cities are also offering preferential policies to attract talented young people working in the livestreaming sector. For example, Hangzhou, the city where e-commerce giant Alibaba is headquartered, has honored influential livestreaming hosts in the city with the title of "national-level talents." Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong Province, unveiled the country's first livestreaming Three-Year Action Plan in March and launched its first livestreaming training academy in June.

As one of the country's most famous high-tech hubs which boasts Huawei, Tencent and many other household names, Shenzhen could also take livestreaming to the forefront and push its shopping and consumption forward. After decades of robust development, Shenzhen has laid a solid economic and social foundation for its consumption transformation and upgrading. Much more than that, the inclusive mind of the Shenzhen government and its numerous high-tech companies will further sharpen the competitive edges of the city as a pioneer city in the country to develop livestreaming as a pillar industry.

Following the lead of Guangzhou, Shenzhen can also initiate livestreaming academies in its colleges and vocational institutions. Compared with other megacities in China, Shenzhen lags far behind in terms of both the quality and quantity of higher learning institutions. However, as an emerging metropolis, Shenzhen's vocational education is rather good in the country.

As we know, Chinese people have a bad tradition of blindly following fashion. While encouraging and supporting the healthy development of the livestreaming industry in the country, governments at various levels should, at the same time, take pains to avoid potential overheating and investment bubbles in the sector.

(The author is the editor-in-chief of Shenzhen Daily with a Ph.D. from the Journalism and Communication School of Wuhan University.)