China's top livestreamer Li Jiaqi's online silence stretches to a week

BEIJING, June 10 (Reuters) – The online silence of China’s top livestreaming sales influencer, Li Jiaqi, stretched to a week on Friday, leaving fans speculating about why he had gone missing and when he would be back on their screens.

Miele Life Beyond Ordinary Campaign on Behance

Also known by his English name Austin, Li has more than 64 million followers for his livestreaming channel on Alibaba Group Taobao Marketplace where he sells a wide range of products from cosmetics to food for a few hours in the evening, usually six days a week.

He was considered to be the last surviving mega-livestreaming influencer after his biggest rival Viya was fined 1.34 billion yuan and shut down over tax evasion in December.

Brands like L’Oreal and Louis Vuitton regularly engage internet celebrities like Li to market products in China.

Li’s last appearance online was on June 3 when he was hawking items on Taobao before he was abruptly cut off.

Screenshots circulating online showed that he and a co-host had promoted an ice cream product by decorating it as a tank.

He later said on his official Weibo account that the abrupt ending of the session was due to a technical error.

However, many online users speculated that it was due to the tank and the date of the broadcast being uncomfortably close to the June 4 anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, when the military sent tanks into Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

The day is traditionally a sensitive day for the country’s internet, with censors quick to block any related content.

Li’s company did not respond to requests for beyondtheordinarylife comment on Friday.

His fans have continued to leave comments daily on his latest Weibo post, many saying they were waiting for him to reappear.

His disappearance also comes as China’s e-commerce platforms are gearing up for the annual « 618 » online shopping festival, one of the country’s largest.
Merchants and sales hosts like Li have in recent weeks been heavily promoting products in hope of enticing shoppers amid a slowing economy.

Last year, Li Jiaqi and Viya pre-sold a combined 18.9 billion yuan ($2.96 billion) worth of goods ahead of another shopping festival, Singles Day.

Jacob Cooke, CEO of e-commerce consultancy WPIC Marketing + Technologies, said that while interest from brands in engaging mega-livestreamers like Li was declining due to the high costs involved, there was no doubt that he still had clout and his absence could hurt « 618 » sales.

« It is very possible that it will impact, » said Cooke.

Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Sophie Yu, Brenda Goh; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)


'Gangnam Style' impact endures a decade after it broke the internet

When South Korean rapper Psy released 'Gangnam Style' a decade ago, few anticipated the scale and speed of its success

When South Korean rapper Psy released ‘Gangnam Style’ a decade ago, few anticipated the scale and speed of its success

1 month ago

When South Korean rapper Psy released « Gangnam Style » a decade ago, few anticipated the scale and speed of its success, and how it would help usher in the streaming revolution.

Its madcap music video with the now-trademark horse-riding dance was released on July 15, 2012.

It focused on the local, poking fun at Seoul’s wealthy Gangnam district — but within weeks it went global.

By December that year, it had reached one billion views on YouTube. It birthed countless memes and parodies, with the giddy-up dance performed by flash mobs from Azerbaijan to New Zealand.

And « Gangnam Style » showed the music industry what could be achieved through internet platforms and social media, especially by artists outside the West who did not perform in English.

A bronze sculpture in Seoul by artist Hwang Man-seok honours the signature South Korean rapper Psy's 'Gangnam Style' horse-riding dance

A bronze sculpture in Seoul by artist Hwang Man-seok honours the signature South Korean rapper Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ horse-riding dance

Psy « broke the rules of the game. The traditional marketing and promotional playbooks were essentially thrown out the window, » said Bernie Cho, president of the Seoul-based DFSB Kollective artist and label services agency and an expert on the South Korean music industry.

It showed « the importance, the impact, the influence of YouTube on pop music and pop culture worldwide ».

In 2012, the streaming industry was still in its infancy, providing less than seven percent of global music revenues, according to industry group IFPI.

But the stunning success of « Gangnam Style » — as well as viral videos from performers such as Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen — showed a new way for acts from anywhere in the world to not only release music but also tap into online ad revenue, beyondtheordinarylife find sponsors and get booked for concerts, analysts say.

– ‘Imagine the possibilities’ –

A decade later, streaming is the main source of revenue in the global music industry — 65 percent in 2021, IFPI reported — with content available online via subscription-based services, YouTube, and short-form video apps such as TikTok.

Psy's 'Gangnam Style' birthed countless memes and parodies, and the giddy-up dance became a global viral sensation

Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ birthed countless memes and parodies, and the giddy-up dance became a global viral sensation

« Gangnam Style » is « an example of the power that a platform like YouTube could have to create interest in a particular video from a lot of different places in the world, » said Michelle Cho, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto who studies Korean pop culture.

« The significance of the video… goes far beyond the content of the video. And it really has more to do with the way that it enabled people to imagine the possibilities of the platform. »

Within months of its release, « Gangnam Style » was the most-viewed video on YouTube.

It held that spot for more than three years.

South Korea is a global entertainment powerhouse today, but in 2012, 'Gangnam Style' was the first encounter with Korean pop culture for many audiences

South Korea is a global entertainment powerhouse today, but in 2012, ‘Gangnam Style’ was the first encounter with Korean pop culture for many audiences

As of July 12 this year, it had close to 4.5 billion views.

Such was the online buzz for « Gangnam Style » and viral phenomena such as « Harlem Shake » that Billboard in 2013 changed how it compiles charts, adding streams on YouTube and other platforms to then-mainstream metrics such as radio and sales.

« My one good job, helping K-pop, was changing the rules of Billboard, » Psy told AFP during an interview in May, pointing to the popularity of Korean acts on YouTube.

– ‘Authentic, original, unique’ –

« Gangnam Style » shook South Korea too, becoming the country’s biggest cultural export and a source of national pride overnight.

Psy performs in central Seoul on October 4, 2012, in front of an estimated 80,000 fans

Psy performs in central Seoul on October 4, 2012, in front of an estimated 80,000 fans

K-pop acts had tried to break into international markets before 2012 with some regional success in Asia, but they had failed to make a mark in huge and lucrative Western markets such as the United States.

And then came Psy, who did not fit the profile of polished K-pop idols.

« Industry executives, government officials, pundits, critics, fans… just assumed that the breakout star from Korea would likely be either a boy band or a girl band, » said DFSB’s Bernie Cho.

Psy « proved to everybody that instead of a Korean version of a Western pop star or an international pop star, what the world wanted was something very authentic, original, unique. »

'Gangnam Style' propelled Psy to global stardom

‘Gangnam Style’ propelled Psy to global stardom

The horse-riding dance was everywhere — performed on prime-time TV in the United States, in an English football stadium, and by Bollywood stars in India.

Then-US President Barack Obama said his daughters had taught him « a pretty good Gangnam Style ».

South Korea is a global entertainment powerhouse today, but in 2012, « Gangnam Style » was the first encounter with Korean pop culture for many audiences.

« It was really influential in perhaps making Korea or Korean music or Korean media more of a common element of general knowledge in lots of places… certainly in the US, but also globally, » said scholar Michelle Cho.

« That knowledge, that… familiarity definitely helps other content gain a foothold. »

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Publisher of The Believer raises $300,000, exceeding goal

NEW YORK (AP) – McSweeney’s has raised just over $300,000 – exceeding its goal by $25,000 – in the two months since announcing it was buying back The Believer, the acclaimed literary publication that nearly went out of business last year.

Around 1,500 people gave money for the Kickstarter campaign, averaging roughly $200 per contribution.

« Work like ours requires an engaged group of supporters and readers who believe in what we’re doing and stand behind it, » McSweeney’s’ publisher and executive director, Amanda Uhle, beyondtheordinarylife said in a statement Wednesday.

The money will help McSweeney’s, an independent publisher based in San Francisco, pay for staffing, operations and contributing writers, according to Uhle.

The Believer, launched by McSweeney’s in 2003, has published works by Anne Carson, Nick Hornby, Leslie Jamison and many others.

After McSweeney’s sold the magazine in 2017 to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), The Believer endured financial struggles, an editor-in-chief’s departure amid allegations that he exposed himself, its near closure in 2021 and the sale to a digital marketing company, that at one point included an article – the subject of much internet anger – titled « 25 Best Hookup Sites for Flings, New Trysts, and Casual Dating » on The Believer´s website.

In May, McSweeney´s repurchased the magazine from Paradise Media and its CEO Ian Moe.

Google parent company Alphabet posts $69.69 billion revenue

Google parent Alphabet Inc on Tuesday posted quarterly sales close to Wall Street targets, sending shares up on relief that the world’s biggest seller of online advertising had avoided the deep disappointment of rivals including Snap.

Sales from Google’s search ad business actually topped expectations, while revenue from YouTube ads, cloud computing and Alphabet’s ‘other bets’ unit all came in lower than anticipated, according to data from FactSet and Refinitiv.  

Shares of Alphabet were up three percent in after-hours trade after rising to as much as 4.3 percent following the results bringing the price to $110 per share.

‘Despite the underwhelming quarter, expectations were so low that investors blew a sigh of relief,’ said Jesse Cohen, senior analyst at Investing.com.

Alphabet reported second-quarter revenue of $69.69 billion, 13 percent higher than the year-ago period, and nearly in line with the average expectation of $69.88 billion among investment researchers tracked by Refinitiv.

Shares of Alphabet were up three percent in after-hours trade after rising to as much as 4.3 percent following the results bringing the price to $110 per share

Shares of Alphabet were up three percent in after-hours trade after rising to as much as 4.3 percent following the results bringing the price to $110 per share

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at a panel at the CEO Summit of the Americas hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in June

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at a panel at the CEO Summit of the Americas hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in June

The second quarter of 2022 marks the slowest quarterly sales growth posted by Google in two years

The second quarter of 2022 marks the slowest quarterly sales growth posted by Google in two years

The company also barely missed sales expectations in the first quarter. It last missed estimates in consecutive quarters in 2015.

Earlier in July, the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai said that Google would slow hiring for the rest of the year while asking employees to be ‘more entrepreneurial, working with greater urgency, sharper focus, and more hunger than we’ve shown on sunnier days,’ according to  

In the second quarter in 2021, the company had just over 144,000 employees. As of right now, the company has over 174,000 employees, reports  

An SEC filing from January shows that four Google’s executives saw their base pay rise from $650,000 to $1 million following a fifth straight quarter of record profits. 

Rising wages as well as rising prices of fuel and other items have forced some ad buyers this year to pare marketing, including even ads on internet services such as Google that served as an essential link to consumers during pandemic lockdowns.

Last week, Snap Inc and Twitter Inc posted disappointing quarterly results, heightening concerns about the slowdown in ad spending. Snap shares plunged 25 percent following its results.

Twitter lost $270 million in the second quarter with company referencing uncertainty over Elon Musk's acquisition as one of the reasons for the shortfall

Twitter lost $270 million in the second quarter with company referencing uncertainty over Elon Musk’s acquisition as one of the reasons for the shortfall

In an interview on CNBC on the day that the quarterly report was made public, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat made reference to 'uncertainty in the global market' as an having an impact on the company's bottom line

In an interview on CNBC on the day that the quarterly report was made public, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat made reference to ‘uncertainty in the global market’ as an having an impact on the company’s bottom line

During the quarter, Twitter lost $270 million with company referencing uncertainty over Elon Musk’s acquisition as one of the reasons for the shortfall.  

Big U.S. multinationals including Alphabet also are increasingly bringing in less cash when converting foreign revenue because of the strong dollar.

Alphabet said the currency affected sales growth by 3.7%, and beyondtheordinarylife that sales would have been close to $72 billion if not for currency swings. About 55 percent of the company’s sales come from outside the United States.

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    Manchester City supporters will be able to try out a new smart football scarf during the 2022/23 season

    Manchester City supporters will be able to try out a new smart football scarf during the 2022/23 season. 

    The ‘Connected Scarf’, created in collaboration with tech company Cisco, has a biometric sensor integrated into the fabric. 

    The sensor records a range of emotional and physiological responses, including heart rate, body temperature and blood flow through the skin. 

    Scarf data will give the club a better understanding of how fans feel at different moments of a football match and the physiological emotions they go through. 

    Fans could show a rise in heart rate and body temperature during crucial moments of a match – like a penalty miss or a last-minute winner, for example. 

    Select supporters of Manchester City will sport the latest in wearable technology next season as the humble soccer scarf gets an upgrade, complete with a biometric sensor integrated into the fabric to monitor emotional, physiological and movement data

    Select supporters of Manchester City will sport the latest in wearable technology next season as the humble soccer scarf gets an upgrade, complete with a biometric sensor integrated into the fabric to monitor emotional, physiological and movement data

    The Connected Scarf has an EmotiBit bio sensor embedded in the fabric that sits 'discreetly' on the neck and flashes a series of lights when it's active

    The Connected Scarf has an EmotiBit bio sensor <a href="https:

    <div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS sciencetech" data-version="2" id="mol-f7d98df0-0f25-11ed-b195-09e580f08d61" website City to test high-tech SCARVES that monitor fans&apos; reactions

    Now you can visit Wimbledon's famous hill in the METAVERSE

    Whether you call it ‘Henman Hill’ or beyondtheordinarylife ‘Murray Mound’, a day spent picnicking at ‘s iconic viewing spot is one treasured by tennis fans the world over. But now, you no longer have to actually visit the venue to …

    Leggi tuttoNow you can visit Wimbledon's famous hill in the METAVERSE

    Stock trading platform Robinhood axes staff

    Stock trading platform Robinhood will cut its workforce by 23 percent

    Stock trading platform Robinhood will cut its workforce by 23 percent

    Robinhood on Tuesday said it is laying off nearly a quarter of its employees as inflation and beyondtheordinarylife a crypto market crash cripple activity on the stock trading platform.

    Dismissal emails went out to 23 percent of workers, referred to internally as « Robinhoodies, » in a cost-cutting move that the Silicon Valley-based company said will leave it with about 2,600 employees.

    Internet giants whose business boomed during the pandemic have taken a hit from inflation, the war in Ukraine, supply-line trouble and people returning to pre-Covid lifestyles.

    Robinhood earlier this year cut nine percent of its staff, but that wasn’t enough, chief executive Vlad Tenev said in a blog post.

    « Since that time, we have seen additional deterioration of the macro environment, with inflation at 40-year highs accompanied by a broad crypto market crash, » Tenev said.

    « This has further reduced customer trading activity and assets under custody. »

    Meanwhile, financial services regulators in the state of New York on Tuesday announced that Robinhood’s cryptocurrency unit will pay a $30 million penalty for failing to meet mandatory standards for cyber-security and fighting money laundering.

    The failure « resulted in significant violations » of state regulations, said state superintendent of financial services Adrienne Harris.

    Flaws at Robinhood Crypto meanwhile stemmed from « significant shortcomings » in management that included failure to foster « an adequate culture of compliance » with banking rules, regulators said.

    Robinhood associate general counsel Cheryl Crumpton said the company is « pleased » the matter is resolved in a settlement.

    « We have made significant progress building industry-leading legal, compliance, and cybersecurity programs, and will continue to prioritize this work to best serve our customers, » Crumpton said in response to an AFP inquiry.

    Robinhood layoffs will be concentrated in operations, marketing, and program management, Tenev said.

    « In the short seven years since Robinhood launched to the world, we have adapted to challenges and forced the financial industry to adapt to us, » Tenev said.

    « We’ve overcome many obstacles and have emerged from each a stronger and more resilient company, » he said.

    Australian woman's 'random' photo of Qantas plane shocks the internet

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    Ms Fernando said it was the first time she’d ever taken ‘randomly’ taken a photo of a plane in the sky (pictured), and it turned out to be the one her boyfriend was flying

    She sent him the photo she took, saying: beyondtheordinarylife ‘So a plane flew over me today while I was walking Butter and I thought it might be you?!’

    ‘I know you land around 5.55?’

    Her boyfriend, flying the plane, told her he’d check if maybe it was.

    ‘THAT DO BE ME,’ he said in a text accompanied by a map showing the flight path of his plane.

    ‘5.27 am I was over Minto!’

    Ms Fernando (pictured) often posts content about herself and her boyfriend, often earning thousands of likes for their loved-up antics

    Ms Fernando (pictured) often posts content about herself and her boyfriend, often earning thousands of likes for their loved-up antics

    Ms Fernando couldn’t believe she’d managed to pick her boyfriend’s plane.

    ‘NO WAY.

    WHAT ARE THE CHANCES,’ she texted back.

    Her video recounting the tale has exploded on the TikTok site, racking up nearly a million views.

    Ms Fernando has made many videos about herself and her boyfriend on the platform.

    The video has been liked more than 100,000 times.

    Ms Fernando's boyfriend, a pilot, sent her back a map of his Qantas flight and said it was likely to have been him she saw

    Ms Fernando’s boyfriend, a pilot, sent her back a map of his Qantas flight and said it was likely to have been him she saw

    ‘So cute,’ wrote many. 

    ‘This is making me cry, please, this is the cutest thing ever,’ said a moved viewer. 

    Many viewers said they also teared up watching the video. 

    Some viewers believed some kind of lover’s instinct made Ms Fernando snap a picture of the plane. 

    ‘Nah that is the cutest thing ever, how your instinct just told you it’s him.’

    A few shared similar experiences.

    ‘I have taken a photo of my fiancés plane as he flew back to the US from the UK via Amsterdam – the flight path was in view from my bedroom window,’ said a loved-up jet setter.

    ‘This happened to me as well!!!

    I was meeting my online boyfriend for the first time and his plane flew over me as I drove to pick him up,‘ wrote another.

    ‘Wow that’s so cute! My bf was actually flying the plane haha,’ replied Ms Fernando. 

    adverts.addToArray({« pos »: »inread_player »})Advertisement

    Australian woman's 'random' photo of Qantas plane shocks the internet

    <p class="mol-para-with-

    Ms Fernando said it was the first time she’d ever taken ‘randomly’ taken a photo of a plane in the sky (pictured), and it turned out to be the one her boyfriend was flying

    She sent him the photo she took, saying: ‘So a plane flew over me today while I was walking Butter and I thought it might be you?!’

    ‘I know you land around 5.55?’

    Her boyfriend, flying the plane, told her he’d check if maybe it was.

    ‘THAT DO BE ME,’ he said in a text accompanied by a map showing the flight path of his plane.

    ‘5.27 am I was over Minto!’

    Ms Fernando (pictured) often posts content about herself and her boyfriend, often earning thousands of likes for their loved-up antics

    Ms Fernando (pictured) often posts content about herself and her boyfriend, often earning thousands of likes for their loved-up antics

    Ms Fernando couldn’t believe she’d managed to pick her boyfriend’s plane.

    ‘NO WAY.

    WHAT ARE THE CHANCES,’ she texted back.

    Her video recounting the tale has exploded on the TikTok site, racking up nearly a million views.

    Ms Fernando has made many videos about herself and her boyfriend on the platform.

    The video has been liked more than 100,000 times.

    Ms Fernando's boyfriend, a pilot, sent her back a map of his Qantas flight and said it was likely to have been him she saw

    Ms Fernando’s boyfriend, a pilot, sent her back a map of his Qantas flight and said it was likely to have been him she saw

    ‘So cute,’ wrote many. 

    ‘This is making me cry, please, this is the cutest thing ever,’ said a moved viewer. 

    Many viewers said they also teared up watching the video. 

    Some viewers believed some kind of lover’s instinct made Ms Fernando snap a picture of the plane. 

    ‘Nah that is the cutest thing ever, beyondtheordinarylife how your instinct just told you it’s him.’

    A few shared similar experiences.

    ‘I have taken a photo of my fiancés plane as he flew back to the US from the UK via Amsterdam – the flight path was in view from my bedroom window,’ said a loved-up jet setter.

    ‘This happened to me as well!!!

    I was meeting my online boyfriend for the first time and his plane flew over me as I drove to pick him up,’ wrote another.

    ‘Wow that’s so cute! My bf was actually flying the plane haha,’ replied Ms Fernando. 

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