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Chinese Youth Inspired by English Tutor Turned Ecommerce Icon

Apart from selling products, Teacher Dong also shares psychological and poetic stories with viewers of his livestreams

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Jun 22, 2022 1 mins read

Since China officially tightened its rules for private tutoring companies, many tutoring centers and teachers have sought other means to make the best of their skillsets.


Enter Dong Yuhui or Michael Dong, a former teacher at the famous New Oriental Education and Technology Group. Dong has recently gone viral for his livestreamed sales methods.


From teaching audiences how to order steak in English — while selling steak, of course — to making melancholy references to W. Somerset Maugham’s novel The Moon and Sixpence and a Shakespeare sonnet during a laundry detergent sales pitch, Dong’s approach is knowledgeable, poetic, and philosophical.


Founded in the early 1990s, New Oriental had been a successful tutoring agency for decades, that is, until the recent crackdown on for-profit tutoring. In January 2022, the company saw its market value drop by 90% and revenue decrease by 80%. Furthermore, 60,000 employees were laid off.


Founder Yu Minhong has since pivoted his business to ecommerce and agricultural product sales.

After being rebranded as Oriental Selection, the company’s remaining employees, including Dong, have found themselves hosting livestreams and selling food while teaching their audiences English.


Former New Oriental teacher Dong Yuhui killing two birds with one stone by selling products and teaching English

Former New Oriental teacher Dong Yuhui killing two birds with one stone by selling products and teaching English


Dong is arguably Oriental Selection’s most popular livestreamer and has directed considerable traffic to the ecommerce platform. The studio now has millions of followers on livestreaming platform Douyin, and the hashtag for New Oriental’s hosts has garnered an incredible 220 million views on the microblogging platform Weibo.


Growing up in a small village in Northwest China, Dong only started studying English in middle school but became the top student within a year. When Dong joined New Oriental in 2015, it didn’t take long for him to become the youngest department head in the company.


New Oriental Livestreamer


Many of Dong’s fans have professed to feeling touched by Dong’s authentic, heartwarming, and wholesome stories during his livestream sessions.


One netizen wrote, “The New Oriental host Dong Yuhui glows when he shares his childhood stories. After listening to him, I feel like there is nothing you can’t do, so long as you have enough determination and perseverance!”


Another fan posted, “Teacher Dong has made me see how knowledge can make for a charming personality.”


Compared with previous generations, youths in China today are faced with exceptionally high hurdles like academic peer pressurethe gaokao, a ruthless job market, and all kinds of uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But personalities like Dong give everyone hope that anything is possible by employing a positive outlook and putting in hard work.


All images via Weibo

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