(Yicai) Sept. 12 -- Li Jiaqi, China’s top makeup and beauty livestream anchor, also known as the ‘Lipstick King,’ has apologized for “inappropriate” remarks he made that sparked controversy after a consumer questioned the price tag of an eyebrow pencil.
“I made inappropriate remarks, and I've been reflecting on my conduct,” Li said in an apology posted on the social media platform Weibo yesterday.
As Li promoted an eyebrow pencil from Chinese makeup brand Florasis priced at CNY79 (USD10.84) during a sales event broadcast on Taobao Live on Sept. 10, a viewer left a comment saying that the product was becoming increasingly expensive.
“Is the product expensive?,” Li retorted. The price has not increased for a number of years, he said, and mentioned the tough market conditions that Chinese makeup brands are operating in. Then he went on to say: “People need to find out why they haven't received a pay rise for many years. Have they worked hard enough?”
The misjudged comments sparked a backlash among consumers, who interpreted them as disparaging people on low incomes. “Li earns money from ordinary people, but mocks them for being poor,” a much-liked comment on social media said. So far, he has lost a million followers on Weibo since the incident.
“I was a makeup counter salesman, and I know everyone’s job is hard,” Li also noted in his apology.
Florasis’ eyebrow pencil, called out by Li’s viewers for constantly increasing in price, is more expensive than most others on the market. Yicai found. Its bestselling pencil weighs 70 milligrams and costs CNY69, or CNY492.90 (USD67.62) per gram, including a free refill.
In comparison with global brands, the per-gram price of an eyebrow pencil from Shu Uemura Cosmetics is CNY67.6, that of Dior CNY160, and that of Innisfree CNY360. Chanel’s is more expensive, at CNY1,444 (USD198.12) per gram.
Compared to Chinese brands, Perfect Diary's eyebrow pencil sells for CNY139.28 per gram, while Unny Club's goes for CNY349 per gram.
In 2019, Florasis ranked among the top 10 makeup brands per sale on Tmall, according to data from the Chinese e-commerce site owned by Alibaba. It was sixth in sales on Tmall in the first four hours of China's Double 11 Shopping Festival last year and 10th in the four-hour presale in this year's 618 e-commerce extravaganza.
Editor: Martin Kadiev