China Group via Getty Images – Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Kian Egan and Nicky Byrne of Westlife during ‘The Twenty Tour’ at Cadillac Arena Beijing, China, Aug. 13, 2019.
28 Million Chinese fans watched the band’s December 2021 livestream on Weixin (WeChat).
A Westlife concert filmed at London’s Bush Hall Venue and broadcast by Tencent’s WeChat (Weixin) across China, Dec. 17, had an audience of almost 28 million.
The number comes from Driift, the London-based producer of livestreams, which produced Westlife’s first ever attempt at a livestream concert. It was also the first ever livestream concert by an international artist in China to be delivered by Weixin’s video and livestream platform.
Weixin, the international version of which is known as WeChat, is China’s most popular social media platform, counting over 1.2 billion users.
The Westlife show received 160 million likes during the 100 minute stream, which included an exclusive cover of “The Road to Ordinary” by popular Chinese singer Pu Shu, performed by Westlife in Mandarin.
The concert was followed by a Q&A, hosted by Ailifeila Aierken, who asked Westlife band members Kian Egan, Mark Feehily, Nicky Byrne and Shane Filan questions from their massive Chinese fanbase.
The music event was filmed by acclaimed director Chris Howe, whose work includes productions for Coldplay, Elton John, Justin Bieber and Robbie Williams.
A comment from Westlife reads: “We are blown away by the phenomenal reaction to our first ever livestream concert in China. The audience figures are just mind blowing. It feels incredibly special to have reached so many millions of our Chinese fans for just one show and we cannot wait to tour there again soon.”
Added Juliet Zhu, WeChat’s/Weixin’s Head of Marketing: “WeChat (Weixin) Channels can be a connector of cultures by leveraging on WeChat’s (Weixin’s) open platform and the creators’ ecosystem.”
Zhu’s team has planned a series of activities in addition to Westlife’s concert, which will see more global celebrities engage with the platform.
Westlife first toured China in 2006. Pollstar has box office records from the band’s 2012 Chinese run, which sold out or almost sold out most of the 6,000 to 8,000-capacity venues the band played back then, like The Peoples Grand Stage in Shanghai, where they sold 7,912 tickets for a gross of $474,720, or Cadillac Arena in Beijing (6,752 tickets sold, $405,120 grossed).
Westlife most recently returned to China in 2019. The band sold more than 5 million concert tickets worldwide and counting.