CHANGSHA, March 10 (Xinhua) -- At 10 p.m., Lu Yiting in her pajamas turned off the lights at her Beijing home, tuned in a livestreaming music remix channel on her iPhone and danced to the disco beats.
"Online disco dancing, though not as intense as in nightclubs, offers an outlet for emotions, and adds some color to my dull, stay-at-home life," Lu said.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Lu has been at home for over a month. Nightclubs, among other entertainment venues across China, have also been closed to prevent the gathering of crowds.
It was Lu's first "cloud disco dancing" experience. On her smartphone screen, participants sent their cities and comments, and some sent virtual presents to the DJ in order to let their chat heads linger for a longer time.
At the same time, thousands of miles away in the eastern Chinese city of Yixing, Xia Yun, 26, purchased some gifts for the DJ.
"Online disco dancing is more about self-entertaining than socializing with others. Drinking a beer or two and sweating a little bit while dancing really helped to release some pressure," he said.
On Feb. 8, the Shanghai-based TAXX Bar launched an unprecedented "cloud disco dancing" session on TikTok, drawing tens of thousands to join. Later TAXX said the peak online participants stood at 71,000, and the club received total rewards of about 367,000 yuan (about 53,000 U.S. dollars) after deduction of commission to TikTok.
The livestreaming became an instant hit and was labeled "cloud disco dancing" on Twitter-like Weibo the next day. Inspired by TAXX, many nightclubs in China launched livestreaming on various platforms.
The ongoing epidemic has affected China's entertainment industry, forcing shutdowns and leaving facilities in idle. Nightclub owners, like so many other business operators, resorted to online space for self-salvation.
"There is not much to do for many young people after staying home for so long. We'd like to share some fun through livestreaming music and beats and lighten their mood," said Ruan Liangliang, general manager of TAXX.
Club MEI in Changsha, a central Chinese city famous for its nightlife, has also joined the "cloud" since mid-February.
"The livestreaming has even attracted those who have rarely or never been to a club," said Cao Jing, stage performance manager of Club MEI. The club's TikTok fans have increased by over 500 percent, and the number of its livestreaming viewers also doubled.
"We attracted more followers over the past weeks than in the past year," Cao said.
At 8:30 p.m. from Monday to Sunday, Club MEI puts on performances through the livestreaming platforms. The DJ, in addition to remixing music, chats with online participants. Newcomers know more about the nightclub culture and the venue itself and become potential consumers.
"Every day I was asked about when the club will open. It's probably because many people believe our re-opening signifies the end of the epidemic," he said.
Some nightclubs have gone the extra mile to donate what they have received from online broadcasting to fuel the coronavirus fight in Wuhan. TAXX donated all the rewards from the first day's livestreaming.
"Though the company is in a difficult time, it's the least we can do as a member of society," Ruan said.
Livestreaming is only a temporary measure to fill in the business gap in such a special period, but it has made owners realize the importance of the promotion of nightclub brands among online communities.
Cao said they will continue to operate, and even expand their livestreaming team after the epidemic, to integrate online and offline promotion to maximize their influence.
"Relating to the business explosion after the 2003 SARS -- actually many popular nightclub brands emerged during that period -- we are confident that the whole nightclub industry will embrace a strong rebound when the coronavirus outbreak is over," Cao said.