Elderly live-streamer becomes Internet sensation in China

Mr Peng Guofei is also an avid live-streamer who has garnered Internet fame in China. PHOTO: XINHUA

CHANGSHA (XINHUA) - Like many men at his age, Mr Peng Guofei is a doting grandfather.

Unlike his peers, the 75-year-old is also an avid live-streamer who has garnered Internet fame in China .

"I'm 'Xiangxi Grandpa Fei' to everyone on the Internet," the farmer told Xinhua at his home in Yangmu Village, in Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in central China's Hunan Province.

Discussing social issues, introducing tourist attractions and touting local specialities, Mr Peng has attracted 161,000 followers on his Douyin account - the Chinese version of Tiktok - with more than 100 million views and 3.45 million likes as of mid-November.

His hometown Yangmu, located deep in a mountainous area, had a high poverty rate of 40.5 per cent in 2014, but the village was lifted out of poverty in 2019, with the poverty rate falling to 0.33 per cent.

With the help of local officials, the villagers received Internet access due to 4G signal coverage in the village.

The local officials also turned to live-streaming e-commerce in a bid to help villagers raise their income. They invited media professionals in late 2019 to start a live-streaming training class for villagers.

Mr Peng signed up for the class when he heard the news.

"He told us he'd like to be an Internet celebrity," said Mr Dai Haiwen, a party cadre of the village. "Although Peng is the oldest person taking the course, he was very active in class and had a strong interest in new things."

In early 2020, Mr Peng took the course conducted in the village and was presented with a smart phone. He set up the account "Xiangxi Grandpa Fei" on Douyin after taking the one-month course, taking the first step to become a live-streamer.

He also went on a learning trip to the provincial capital of Changsha in May, the first time he left the mountains of Xiangxi.

Mr Peng built up a team with some post-90ers in September to make short videos selling agricultural products online. Their videos received many likes online due to the engaging content.

"More people will know about my hometown's special products through my Internet fame," said Mr Peng. "The live-streaming sessions are a channel for us to attract customers and make some profits."

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