Li, who broke records for selling 15,000 lipsticks in five minutes, had been missing since June 3 for triggering the censorship system when he promoted a tank-like ice cream product a day before the 33rd anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest.
His first livestream marked the end of a temporary ban for his political insensitivity.
The one-and-a-half-hour livestream featured 27 products, including Anta sneakers, Neiwai lingerie and Judydoll lipsticks. During the livestream, 17 products sold out. In total, it garnered more than 62.5 million views by the end of the session.
Chinese netizens largely welcomed Li’s return. The hashtag “Austin Li Livestream” received more than 28.4 million clicks on Weibo.
“Shop rationally, shop happily, only buy what you need,” Li said before introducing each product, reiterating the theme of the livestream.
Li returns ahead of the Singles’ Day sales, China’s largest e-commerce shopping event, on Nov. 11. During last year’s Singles’ Day, Li generated 10.65 billion renminbi, or $1.56 billion, in gross merchandise value, the equivalent to what several physical retailers make in a year combined.
“With his tens of millions of dedicated followers, his livestreams and associated discounts are a major draw for Tmall as it fends off a challenge from Douyin,” said Jacob Cooke, chief executive officer of WPIC, a Beijing-based e-commerce consulting firm.
“However, his return doesn’t stop the shift toward brands prioritizing owned livestream content, which is better for their margins and allows them to own the interaction with consumers,” said Cooke.
According to Cooke, star livestreamers usually demand a steeper discount on products and charge a 20 percent commission plus a service fee.