Liu Qiangdong’s virtual debut aims to boost JD’s content strategy.

Economic Observer Network Reporter Qian Yujun

On April 16th, the “Brother Dong AI (Artificial Intelligence) Digital Personality” featuring Liu Qiangdong, the founder of (09618.HK), made its debut live on the app. To heighten the excitement of this live broadcast, also introduced interactive benefits such as “Hot Items Starting at 6.18% Off,” a draw for tickets to the 2024 European Football Championship, and a Red Packet Rain with a total value of 100,000 RMB.

In the live streaming room for home appliances and furnishings, the digital persona of Brother Dong appeared punctually at 6:18 PM yesterday. Despite only hosting a 32-minute live session, he attracted over 8 million views to the stream.

According to, Brother Dong’s digital persona belongs to the Yanxi Digital Human category, powered by JD Cloud’s self-developed Yanxi large model AI. By simply uploading product links in the backend after the live stream, the Yanxi Digital Human can intelligently “read” product details, identify key specifications, selling points, and generate live stream scripts automatically, ensuring 24-hour automatic streaming.

During the product presentations in the live stream, Brother Dong’s digital persona maintained consistent facial expressions, gestures, similar to those in the pre-announcement video. To enhance authenticity, he intermittently checked the comments section every few minutes, indicating engagement with fans.

One viewer who watched Brother Dong’s live stream felt that while the persona was “realistic in appearance, the movements seemed rigid.” Some netizens also made fun of the expressions and speech patterns of Brother Dong’s digital persona on social media.

Wang Yalin, a specialist in digital human motion capture technology, watched Brother Dong’s live stream in its entirety. He mentioned that within the current industrial level of digital humans, the accuracy of Brother Dong’s facial features met the normal standards. However, there is still a gap between his performance and the charisma of Liu Qiangdong during live speeches.

Wang Yalin informed the reporter that with the use of AI machine learning technology, the barriers for facial and vocal simulation in digital humans have significantly lowered. Nevertheless, complex movements remain a challenge in this field.

Moreover, Wang Yalin noticed that in previous years, virtual influencers primarily relied on live streaming tips for revenue, but commercializing live streams with digital personas has been challenging. He mentioned that through Brother Dong’s live debut, aims to introduce digital human services or technological solutions to more small and medium-sized businesses.

E-commerce expert Li Chengdong believes that’s unveiling of Brother Dong’s digital persona and its live debut at this particular timing further emphasizes the importance of content ecosystem to its founder, Liu Qiangdong.

A source close to revealed to the reporter, “Early last year, Lao Liu (how JD employees refer to Liu Qiangdong) mentioned internally that’s content ecosystem was nearly non-existent.” In response to Alibaba’s launch of Taobao Live, swiftly ventured into live streaming e-commerce. However, unlike other platforms competing for e-commerce influencers, has not actively promoted any top-tier influencers nor had deep collaborations with any live streaming agencies in recent years.

The absence of a robust content ecosystem at has led some merchants to migrate to other e-commerce platforms. A merchant from Guangzhou, who used to be a partner of, shifted his focus to Douyin (TikTok) for sales of a small fraction of products after short videos and live streaming e-commerce gained popularity.

It was learned that’s current live streaming e-commerce model is primarily based on in-house employees conducting sales streams, different from other platforms that feature celebrities or internet influencers. A brand merchant collaborating with in home appliances and furnishings mentioned that unlike other celebrity influencers,’s live streams focus on product explanations without charging placement fees or commissions to the merchants.

Furthermore, apart from sales streams, has been actively expanding other forms of content ecosystem. In March of this year, JD Retail Group, a subsidiary of, unveiled its three major strategies for 2024, focusing on content ecosystem, open ecosystem, and immediate retail. This marked the first time that emphasized the content ecosystem, with a focus on live streaming, short videos, textual content, and more.

On April 10, announced an investment of 1 billion RMB in cash and 1 billion RMB in traffic incentives to attract more original creators and high-quality content institutions to join. also stated that the live debut of Brother Dong’s digital persona is part of its efforts to enhance the content ecosystem and enrich users’ shopping experiences.

However, Li Chengdong is not optimistic about’s recent focus on the content ecosystem. He mentioned that the current saturation of content platforms may divert users’ preferences, as might not be their top choice for content consumption. Additionally, the model of live streaming e-commerce does not align well with’s core identity.

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