On the evening of this year’s Mother’s Day, Dong Mingzhu, the chairwoman of Chinese home appliance manufacturer Gree Electric (SHE: 000651) kicked off her second livestream on popular short-video app Kuaishou.
Unlike her first livestreaming campaign in late April, which only generated USD 31,900 in sales on Douyin, China’s most popular short-video app, Dong sold RMB 310 million (USD 44 million) worth of Gree products last night on Douyin’s competitor Kuaishou.
Widely known as the person who made Gree the world’s largest residential air-conditioner seller, Dong stepped forward to join the livestreaming fray at a time when the company’s offline business was severely hampered by the COVID-19 outbreak.
In the first quarter of 2020, Gree’s revenue was just about 50% compared to the same period in 2019, while net profit shrank 72.5%, per the company’s financial report.
While Dong promised that the company would not fire any of its employees to cut costs, she also admitted Gree is dealing with an approximate loss of RMB 30 billion (USD 4.24 billion) due to the fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the interview portion of the livestreaming show on Sunday night, Dong said she is planning to open a “Dong Mingzhu livestreaming channel” and make livestreaming a regular program to bolster synergy between the company’s online and offline sales.
Gree has been left behind in terms of leveraging online sales. Its online store had a total transaction volume of just RMB 350 million (USD 49.5 million) in the entirety of 2019, only slightly more than the sales of Dong’s three-hour livestream event on May 10.
Home appliance and electronic device manufacturers are actively moving their businesses online. In 2019, online sales increased by 4.2% to 38.7% of China’s total home appliance sales.