Net Worth US$1.4 Billion, Taobao Live Streamer Joins China’s 500 Richest

Get to know Viya, the Livestream Queen in China and the four reasons that contributed to her success.

On 13 May 2021, New Fortune released its China 500 rich list. Viya, a 36-year-old Taobao host, together with her husband, ranked 490th with a net worth of RMB 9 billion (US$1.4 billion). Different from others on the list, Viya came from a humble background. She is a representative of grassroots wealth creation and entrepreneurship.
Viya's live broadcast achievements
If Jack Ma has shown everyone how big the Internet industry in China is – especially the e-commerce sector, Viya has demonstrated how live stream e-commerce can achieve breakthrough records unseen elsewhere.
This beautiful Anhui native previously debuted as a singer, and she even had collaborations with celebrities such as Jackie Chan and JJ Lin. Upon leaving the entertainment industry, she started selling clothes both offline and online. In 2016, she became the official video anchor of Taobao and continued her career till now. 
In a 2017 live broadcast, she guided the sales of a fur fashion shop that started with no followers and achieved a sales volume of RMB 70 million (US$10.9 million) in five hours. In 2018, Viya topped Taobao’s highest-earning list with an annual income of RMB 30 million (US$4.7 million). On the Singles Day Shopping Festival, her sales reached RMB 267 million (US$41.7 million). 
In March 2019, Viya's live broadcast in South Korea had 4.6 million audiences, selling 850,000 items worth over RMB 100 million (US$15.6 million). Later, she did a five-hour live broadcast in Thailand, which had 5.4 million audiences and a sales volume of RMB 114 million (US$17.8 million). Afterwards, she was invited by New Zealand to live stream for two days, where she sold over 1.4 million items worth RMB 134 million (US$20.9 million) in total. On Taobao’s Singles Day, Viya held three live broadcasts, reaching a sales volume of RMB 2.7 billion (US$421.9 million). In 2020, her total turnover reached RMB 30 billion (US$4.7 billion), ranking first on Taobao Live.
Viya’s keys to success
For many years, Viya has consistently ranked as the top anchor of China's live streaming platforms. She won numerous awards such as the "Global Quality Product Recommender" and "Chief Recommender". Her outstanding performance made her a national idol after Jack Ma. There are over 130 million anchors in the Chinese live-streaming industry. Still, most of them only earn RMB 3,000 to 5,000 (US $468.8 to US$781.2) a month, according to the Development Report of China's internet performance (live streaming) industry in 2020. Why is Viya so successful in the live stream e-commerce sector? 
1. Persistence
At Taobao's infancy phase, many merchants distrust Taobao's ability to generate sales. There was a lack of business cooperation with local merchants, which limited the profitability of e-commerce anchors. Many anchors turned to the entertainment industry for fast cash, but Viya persisted in the field of live stream e-commerce.
2. User trust
In an e-commerce live broadcast, customers will repurchase a good product at a competitive price with a pleasant shopping experience. Once the video anchor achieves the three conditions above, he or she will establish trust with the customers, and this relationship will continue to grow. Viya's studio always emphasizes that Viya has tested all the products. Customers believe in Viya because of the trusting relationship that is built between Viya and her followers.
3. Dare to try
Viya's studio sells products from many categories, such as household products, real estate, Starbucks and McDonald's coupons, movie tickets, and even rockets. As Viya said, "I am trying to make the impossible possible." This quote succinctly summarized her secret to success.
4. Originality
With the continuous development of Taobao Live and the influx of merchants, it is now easier for live stream anchors to make money. While some anchors started selling fake or flawed products for quick cash, Viya only recommends products after strict selection. She knows the importance of maintaining user trust. One disappointment can cause a follower never to trust the host again. 
Viya’s originality also comes from her efforts to alleviate poverty through e-commerce. She devoted herself to the social welfare sector since 2018, and these initiatives have received strong support from Alibaba and the government. Now, her studio frequently engages with stars, celebrities, socialites, and government officials. Her charity live broadcast promoting good products from rural areas won praise from the public. 
Source: Alizila
The booming Chinese live broadcast market
According to the China Association of Performing Arts, the number of Chinese live broadcast users reached 617 million, and the market size of this industry is about RMB 193 billion (US$30.2 billion) in 2020. 
Various live streaming platforms have also created many other popular anchors, such as Li Jiaqi, the number one lipstick seller in Taobao, with over 44.2 million followers and an average of ten million viewers per broadcast. Luo Yonghao, the former CEO of Smartisan, nearly paid off his RMB 600 million (US$93.8 million) debt by live-streaming on Tik Tok. Li Ziqi, a world-famous creator of short videos, earns dozens of millions a year through video streaming and user rewards.
Source: Lee Jiaqi and Luo Yonghao Weibo Profile
Can we copy the route to success?
With solid support from the government, the e-commerce industry has been doing well in China. Local governments use live streams to promote tourism and local specialities. They also run various training courses to teach farmers how to sell goods online and how to earn traffic income from their videos. Video platforms offer tutorials to develop beginner level anchors. 
The successes of leading anchors inspired many to follow suit. Chinese youths no longer aspire to become star celebrity. They want to enjoy both fame and money by becoming a live stream anchor instead.
While there are many ways to become a video anchor, here are some basic principles observed among successful anchors:
1.     Have the courage to try
2.     Be original
3.     Show a good attitude
4.     Keep learning
5.     Have a bottom line
6.     Never give up
While the core principles remain the same, individual anchors have different personalities and face different contexts. Aspiring anchors should not blindly copy after successful anchors but experiment and figure out their way instead.