Chinese miners try livestream sales to shift coal glut, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld


BEIJING: On China’s frenetic and hugely popular retail livestreams, glamorous hosts sell goods ranging from shoes and lipsticks to baby products and, increasingly, truckloads of sulphurous coal.

With coal inventories at China’s ports and power plants reaching record highs in recent weeks as a sluggish economy saps demand from utilities and steel mills, reducing the need for piles of cheap imported fuel, some miners are getting more creative in their customer outreach.

In one recent stream by Huaze Coal Industry, a young woman in a blue hardhat and mining boilersuit, holding a lump of coal and superimposed onto a background of a coal warehouse, advertised powderised coal with an energy content of 5,500 kcal direct from the mine in Shanxi province at 570-600 yuan ($79.55-$83.73) per metric ton.

The minimum shipment size of between 30 to 35 tons, to be transported by train, indicates that the target market is wholesale industrial buyers.

By comparison, domestic thermal 5,500 kcal coal was traded at about 800 yuan ($111.64) per ton as of last week, according to trading sources.

Though wholesaling of hard commodities is not entirely new to China’s streaming platforms, it appears to be on the rise.

Three of the most active coal channels on Douyin identified by Reuters – Huaze Coal, Guohai Daily Coal Price, and Jixing Coal – have together held 164 such online events so far this quarter, up from 120 events last quarter and 107 events in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The shows can last more than two hours.

None of the vendors immediately responded to Reuters’ requests for comment.

And while it is unclear how much revenue such events generate, they elicit plenty of viewer comments, including many that appear to be tongue in cheek.

“How much for a whole truck?”, one viewer joked.

  • Published On Jun 15, 2023 at 11:01 AM IST

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