On China’s frenetic and enormously popular retail livestreams, glamorous presenters sell everything from shoes and lipsticks to infant products and, increasingly, sulfurous coal.
Coal inventories at China’s ports and power plants have reached record highs in recent weeks, as a sluggish economy has sapped demand from utilities and steel factories, reducing the need for piles of inexpensive imported fuel. As a result, some miners are rethinking their customer outreach strategies.
In a recent stream by Huaze Coal Industry, a young woman in a blue hardhat and mining boilersuit, holding a lump of coal and superimposed onto a background of a coal warehouse, advertised powderised coal with an energy content of 5,500 kcal direct from the mine in Shanxi province for 570-600 yuan per metric ton (between $79.55 and $83.53).
The minimum shipment quantity of 30 to 35 tons, which will be transported by train, indicates that the target market is industrial wholesalers.
Chinese coal producers are experimenting with live-stream sales to clear inventory.
According to trading sources, domestic thermal 5 500 kcal coal was traded for approximately 800 yuan ($111.64) per ton as of last week.
Although hard commodity wholesaling is not wholly novel to China’s streaming platforms, it appears to be growing.
Huaze Coal, Guohai Daily Coal Price, and Jixing Coal, designated by Reuters as the three most active coal channels on Douyin, have hosted a total of 164 online events so far this quarter, up from 120 events last quarter and 107 events in the fourth quarter of 2022.
The performances may exceed two hours.
None of the suppliers responded promptly to Reuters’ requests for comment.
And while it is uncertain how much revenue such events generate, they generate an abundance of viewer comments, many of which are tongue-in-cheek.