Russian woman chases dream in China with live streaming

Maria, a 30-year-old Russian woman, is a live streamer currently living in Hunchun, northeast China’s Jilin province. Coming to China 10 years ago, Maria mastered Chinese through self-learning.

“The city developed so fast over the past 10 years. When I first came here, I saw few high buildings and cars running on the road,” Maria said. As a port city, Hunchun has seen a higher level of opening up in recent years, giving people, like Maria, a lot of opportunities to start a business here.

The city of Hunchun (Photo/Xinhua)

When COVID-19 propelled the power of live commerce in China, Maria opened her own channel on a short-video platform.

“Hello, my friends from Dalian! Hello, my friends from Guangzhou!” a live streaming show with Maria as the host was joined by many people.

At first she had only 400 followers, but after only three or four months she had over 30,000 followers. When the business is good, she can earn as much as 4,000 yuan ($611) in one day. Through her platform, Russian sausages and chocolates are sold to places around China.

The most exciting part about the job is that it brings her into the world of the internet economy, Maria said. It also propels her to learn Chinese, as well as other skills needed to be an online anchor.

“I do not only like to sell products on the platform but also interact with people,” Maria said, adding that she has gained a lot of understanding of Chinese and Russian culture through the shows.

Maria also sells locally produced products on her platform. During the “Double 11” shopping spree, Hunchun apples enjoyed good sales thanks to her promotion during a live streaming show, giving her the feeling of satisfaction. “Hunchun is my second hometown, and I hope to do something for it.”

Maria’s goal is to have 1 million followers on the platform. She said China gives her a happy life and a strong sense of security. Saying that she wants to continue with her streaming business, Maria expressed that she also wants to buy a bigger house, go to university and open a travel agency in China. 

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