Chinese social media star Austin Li finally returned to the screen on September 20 after suddenly disappearing about three months ago.

Without any advanced notice, his live-streaming section on Alibaba’s Taobao platform began at 7 p.m. 

It was like the flamboyant Li had never left. That session garnered massive attention in short order. According to mainland media Red Star News, within 4 minutes, he had 10,000 viewers. In 20 minutes, that number soared to 2 million. 

Times Finance said his comeback broadcast lasted 2 hours and 14 minutes, which attracted a maximum audience of more than 6 million.

Li, who is also referred to as Lipstick Brother, introduced a range of home appliances, underwear, and skincare products. The South China Morning Post reported that most of the items flew off the shelves, prompting Li to tell shoppers to slow down. 

He said, “Please don’t buy the products just to support us. If you have plentiful supplies of [something] at home, [wait and] only buy when the supplies run out.”

The Chinese influencer is among the three biggest social media stars that vanished from the mainland internet. On June 3, his online sales broadcast was cut midway after introducing a tank-shaped dessert. Most speculated that the particular shape conflicted with the CCP’s strict taboo: The military crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. 

At the time, Li said the disruption was only a technical error. Yet, he later disappeared from his social media account until September 20. The famous online salesman did not mention the reasons behind his monthlong absence. 

Although Li missed China’s midyear online retail festival on June 18, his re-emergence is in time for Alibaba’s Singles’ Day on November 11. The event, also known as Double 11, is considered the biggest annual shopping festival globally.

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