Anti-poverty official who aspires to become “internet celeb”

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GUIYANG: At 10:30 p.m., Zhang Dongdong, a Party official of a village in southwest China’s Guizhou Province, finished his livestreaming show.
Over two hours, he introduced local pickled vegetables and tea leaves in front of several thousand viewers.
Zhang, 37, used to be a teacher in Beijing before being chosen and dispatched to aid anti-poverty efforts in Zhanma Village, Qinglong County, last year. Being a shutterbug, he brought cameras and even a DJI aerial photography aircraft with him.
“I want to introduce the village to the outside world through my lens,” he said.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the local agricultural products, which are a major source of income for villagers, were piling up. Zhang thought livestreaming might be a way to broaden sales.
With assistance from the local government, Zhang got in touch with Kuaishou, a popular short-video sharing platform. Kuaishou responded with an “internet celebrity” project tailored for village officials, offering technical and promotional support to anti-poverty officials livestreaming local specialties.
Zhang decided to give it a try. “Livestreaming is more visual and vivid, which enables potential consumers to participate in the planting and processing of agricultural products,” Zhang said. “I’d never livestreamed before. But I had to, for the sake of poverty alleviation.”
When giving his first show, Zhang was overwhelmed. “Everything was suddenly new to me in front of the phone and I didn’t know what to say.”
To impress viewers, he came up with many ideas — to promote tea leaves standing in the middle of the tea garden, to put on local ethnic costumes, and even to invite celebrities to his livestreaming room.
On April 4, he invited a popular actress to co-host a livestreaming session remotely, which drew over 300,000 viewers. Zhang was thrilled.
Over the past two months, he hosted over 20 sessions and saw his followers climb from zero all the way to 4,606. He himself is more eloquent, interacting with fans more naturally during livestreaming.
“I can launch a session anywhere and anytime,” he said. “Sincerity is my weapon.”
Qinglong is one of nine deeply impoverished counties that have yet to shake off poverty in Guizhou. Zhang and his fellow colleagues still have a lot to do and a long way to go. He only has time at night or on the weekend to livestream.
Besides his newfound career as an “internet celebrity,” he is dedicated to improving the quality and packaging of local agricultural products. “Only standard and branded products can carry us afar.” – Agencies