China's "porcelain capital" shines in livestreaming spotlight

(Xinhua) 15:13, January 11, 2024

NANCHANG, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Holding a smartphone, 31-year-old Wei Lingyan maneuvered her way through several hundred porcelain stalls, showcasing products to fans via a livestreaming platform.

"Welcome, new friends! Feel free to let me know your preferences," said Wei, a native of Jingdezhen, the renowned "porcelain capital" located in east China's Jiangxi Province.

Wei has embraced the role of "walk-streamer," a novel profession gaining traction on Taoxichuan ceramic art avenue in Jingdezhen. Since launching her social media account last year, she has attracted over 5,000 fans, achieving monthly sales ranging from 150,000 yuan (about 20,950 U.S. dollars) to 200,000 yuan.

Duan Haonan, head of the entrepreneurship business unit in the Taoxichuan management committee, said the emergence of "walk-streamers" has opened new sales channels for ceramic stall owners.

In the first 10 months of 2023, livestreaming e-commerce sales exceeded 2.2 trillion yuan in China, surging 58.9 percent year on year and driving the growth of online retail sales by 7.5 percentage points.

The influence of livestreaming is also evident in Jingdezhen, with over 10,000 livestream hosts engaged in the ceramics industry. Last year, they collectively generated approximately 7 billion yuan in sales.

"Momo," who oversees six livestreaming accounts, has amassed a fanbase surpassing 1 million. Her livestreaming rooms generate a staggering annual revenue of 200 million yuan.

"In addition to ceramic sales, my livestreams delve into promoting ceramic culture. I often invite inheritors of intangible cultural heritage to share the stories behind ceramics," she said.

Jingdezhen's history of ceramics dates back over 2,000 years. Its past role as an official and imperial kiln has elevated the art of porcelain making to unprecedented heights.

Nowadays, the internet connects Jingdezhen's traditional ceramic culture with international elements and fashion trends, creating new opportunities for the handmade porcelain industry.

At 1 a.m., Emrah Hakan Caliskan, a Turkish online influencer based in Jingdezhen, stepped into the live broadcast room in a local ceramics industrial park, introducing new products to consumers worldwide.

On the smartphone screen before him, comments from customers kept rolling: "Engrave my name on the bottom of the cup," "Paint my pet on the front"...

Caliskan's wife, Cheng Linyao, is a municipal-level inheritor of porcelain drawings in Jingdezhen. "We integrate Sino-Turkish culture into our ceramic works," said Caliskan, showcasing a teacup. "Turkish people often use this geometric pattern decoration in architecture and clothing, and it has a unique charm when painted on blue-and-white porcelain."

During the 2023 China Jingdezhen International Ceramic Expo, his ceramic works gained favor from exhibitors in countries such as France, Germany, and Italy.

While for many Jingdezhen sparks thoughts of ancient kilns and millennia-old porcelain craftsmanship, it represents a realm of vibrancy for Liu Nan, head of Phonbay Training Institute.

As night fell, a group of young people displayed their skills of singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments through livestreaming from Taoxichuan ceramic art avenue.

They are from Phonbay Training Institute, which was established in December 2021. Each of their roadshows draws approximately 100,000 viewers, with some watching online and others attending offline.

"I hope both domestic and international visitors can appreciate not only the static beauty of our ceramic culture but also its dynamic essence," Liu said.

"In this place, everyone pursues what they truly desire, and this is not limited to pottery. Each person can discover a lifestyle and approach to work that suits them," Wei said.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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