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China’s Top Livestreamer Accused of Gouging Singles’ Day Shoppers

‘Lipstick King’ Li Jiaqi, who has had a rocky 2022, has found himself in hot water again in conjunction with China’s Singles’ Day shopping festival

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Beatrice Tamagno Headshot
4 weeks ago 1 mins read

Livestreaming superstar Austin Li (also known as Li Jiaqi) has found himself in hot water (again) after vending an overpriced set of Shisheido lotions in conjunction with China’s most iconic shopping festival, Singles Day’ or Double Eleven.


While the lotion set was going for 1,240 RMB (about 171 USD) during Li’s livestream, the same product was being sold on the Japanese brand’s official Taobao store for 888 RMB (about 122 USD).


Following consumer backlash, Shisheido’s flagship store blamed the 888 RMB price on a “system malfunction” and, seeing as the items hadn’t been shipped out yet, sent cash refunds to those who had bought the ‘incorrectly’ (read: lower) priced lotions.


taobao austin li jiaqi

Shisheido’s lotion set was repriced at 1,240 RMB after the kerfuffle. Image via Taobao


However, other sellers on the Chinese lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu reportedly continued selling the lotion set for 888 RMB, which might mean that the auspicious number (eight is lucky in China) was the real price and not the result of a “system malfunction.”


Adding to the confusion, days after Shiseido’s announcement, customers who had bought the ‘discounted’ lotions from the brand’s flagship stores found the creams on their doorsteps despite having already received full refunds.


When Li’s fans who purchased the beauty products for 1,240 RMB discovered that others had received theirs for free, they lost it. Many took to social media to unleash their rage.


A hashtag related to the fiasco gained a staggering 650 million views on the microblogging platform Weibo. However, many users defended the livestreamer with comments such as, “This has nothing to do with him, it’s on Shiseido,” and, “Who says that commercial livestreaming has to offer the lowest price?!”


austin li jiaqi

Austin Li with a crowd of fans. Image via Twitter


For the livestreaming superstar, the scandal is just one in a series of unfortunate events throughout his colorful career.


On September 20, Li made a comeback after a three-month hiatus, which many have linked to an incident involving a tank-shaped cake on one of his livestreams. The session was suddenly interrupted, and many have wondered if the pastry was a reference to a ‘certain incident’ in Beijing in 1989 — a rumor the celebrity has never commented on.


Li’s run-in with disgruntled shoppers is not the only controversy tied to this year’s Double Eleven sales. Many online shoppers have also complained about refund policies and overly complicated discount coupons.


Cover image via Weibo

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