Regulators in China want streamers to have licenses when talking about finance, law, medicine and education
On June 22, two government bureaus in China jointly published a code of conduct for internet livestream hosts, which specifies that hosts broadcasting live content relating to areas which requires “highly professional expertise”(such as medical and health, financial and financial, legal, education), should obtain corresponding practice qualifications, and submit them to livestream platforms for reviewing.
The code of conduct also forbids the behavior of “flexing”, saying livestreamers should not present or promote large amounts of luxury items, jewelry, and bank notes. In addition, livestreams should also refrain from deliberately creating public “hot topics”, and speculating on sensitive issues.
The new rules signifies Chinese regulators determination on curbing the industry and many bad behaviors in it. However, it has created confusion for many industry practitioners.
Contents such as “dermatologist’s favorite products”, or “nutritionists shares self-care routine” have long been popular online, as people are more inclined to seek the advice of professionals. Yet, on June 6, regulators issued a new rule which points out that “the staff of medical institutions who use their positions and identity to livestream and sell products will be seriously investigated and dealt with”.
Livestream hosts in the finance sector are also having a hard time interpreting the new policy, as it is unclear what “qualifications” are needed. According to a QuanshangZhongguo report, some brokerage firms said that the policy is mainly for platforms such as Douyin and WeChat, brokerage firms broadcasting in their own apps may be exempted. Others believe that the practice qualification may be an identity proof, since if it is required for livestream hosts to have practice licenses, many independent hosts or scholars would be disqualified.
After the release of the new code of conduct, Kuaishou and Bilibili saw their stocks fell by 4.08% and 3.43% respectively in Hong Kong.