I Show my Life
In 2015, Ma took on the family honey producing business in the verdant hills of Zhejiang province, and thanks to e-commerce apps, managed to turn a yearly revenue of 1 million yuan ($142,000).
But the sales began to stagnate.
So in November 2018, with help from his friends in the village, he began posting videos about his life on the farm.
They showed him opening up a hive surrounded by a swarm of bees, swimming bare-chested in a river, and chopping wood.
“I never advertise my products. I show my daily life, the landscapes of the countryside. That’s what interests people,” Ma says.
“Of course people suspect that I’m selling honey. But they decide to get in touch with me to say they want to buy some.”
Like most transactions in China, where hard cash is less and less popular, the orders are paid through apps like WeChat or AliPay.
Ma says he now sells between 2 and 3 million yuan ($285,000- $428,000) worth of honey each year, as well as dried sweet potato and brown sugar.
“When I was young we were poor,” he recalls, adding: “At school I used to admire other kids who had pocket money, because I never had any.”
Now he drives a 4×4 BMW that cost around 760,000 yuan ($108,000) and has also invested in building a B&B.
“Using Douyin, that was the turning point,” he says.
“Today I can buy my family what they need. I help the other villagers to sell their products too. All of the local economy benefits,” he explains.