Smartisan founder Yonghao Luo announced his cooperation with Chinese used-goods trading platform Zhuanzhuan on Oct. 14 12:00 p.m. Beijing local time, declaring to serve as the promotion ambassador of Zhuanzhuan App.
As an affiliate of 58.com, the platform focuses on second-hand mobile phones and 3C products quality inspection and trading, owning an inspection team led by professionals from Apple’s Genius Bar and joining hands with Foxconn to formulate quality inspection standards.
It is not surprising for Chinese netizens to witness another advertising endorsement from Yonghao Luo, also known to Chinese by his nickname “Lao Luo”, due to the 600 million yuan debt he owed in 2018.
Unlike typical Chinese entrepreneurs, Luo is known for his failed entrepreneurial experiences.
In June 2006, Luo resigned as an English teacher tutoring GRE tests after he went viral on the internet for his humorous way of lecturing as well as his enlightening life lessons he passed on to his students.
Only a month later, he started a blog website bullog.cn in Beijing but the site was shut down, censored by the government due to the cynical and politically sensitive blogs posted on the site. The server was officially deceased in 2009.
Luo also opened Laoluo English School, an English educational service company in 2008, and established his mobile phone brand Smartisan in April 2012.
With the smartphone company’s capital chain broken and a large number of employees and executives having left Smartisan, the new phone model development became stagnant in 2018.
The company was sold to ByteDance in 2019 and Luo ended up owing 600 million yuan to the suppliers.
Luo signed a contract with Douyin for e-commerce livestreaming in 2020 and he mentioned during his speech at standup comedy show Rock & Toast Season 3 that he has so far paid off 400 million yuan of his debt through livestreaming sales.
The ad endorsement with Zhuanzhuan was supposed to be regarded as a norm for Luo, but still, the announcement triggered heated discussion on social media and even started trending on Sina Weibo, the Chinese Twitter, with the hashtag #Luo Yonghao Old Model Launch Conference#.
Luo promoted the endorsement with a poster with the slogan “I AM BACK” and event titled “old smartphone model launch event” scheduled on Oct. 14, the same day as Apple’s launch event for the iPhone 12 series.
The event was comprehended as a new move on Smartisan phones by many of his followers.
However, tech fanatics were frustrated as they clicked into the livestreamed launch event only to discover another one of Luo’s advertisements to pay off the rest of his debt.
In September 2020, Luo ranked 7th on the e-commerce livestreamer list published by ByteDance’s Douyin.