Wang Lei Explains How He Turned a Crisis into a Successful Online Business Even When He’s Not Tech-Savvy

Amidst the ongoing epidemic, two types of entrepreneurs exist: those who find themselves suffering the full brunt of the pandemic’s recession-inducing prowess and those…

Who is using the crisis as an actual opportunity.

While the scamming profession is technically counted as one of the latter, there are legitimate careers out there that seize the crisis with a positive vibe. Food delivery services are one…

And Wang Lei’s online business is another.

Lest you’re unaware, Wang Lei has only gone from strength to strength with the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, incorporating the coveted fields of Facebook live-streaming and online pitch sales to his already established repertoire of accomplishments, which includes being a Getai star and movie actor.

But how did his rise in Facebook fame kick start in the first place? And how did he manage to coin up an entire online business, 卖鱼哥 (Sell Fish Brother) when everyone else was busy scrambling for financial shelter?

Well, let’s find out.

Wang Lei Explains How He Turned a Crisis into a Successful Online Business Even When He’s Not Tech-Savvy

In an exclusive interview with local Facebook page Sure Boh Singapore (SBS), Wang Lei reveals his journey from being a Getai star with zero income in 75 days, to a live streamer who routinely sells over 80,000 units on a daily basis.

Talk about a real Covid-19 comeback story.

According to the local actor, his last performance was on 4th February, before the pandemic forced everyone indoors. With gigs out of the window, he could only rest at home for the next 75 days, a period which supposedly garnered zero income.

“I have zero income for the past 75 days,” he said. “Zero income, not a single dollar.”

One day, he drove to Changi Point, where he met a friend who works as a fisherman. It was here that Wang Lei’s business idea ‘inadvertently’ took off.

“His first sentence to me was, “that virus is forcing us to shut down operations”,” he said.

“I asked, “what happened?”, and he told me that nobody was buying his fishes.

“If this continues for another two months, he will have to release all the fishes back to the sea. Really, thousands of fishes, all released back to the sea,” he said.

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At this point, Wang Lei’s friend asked him for help, suggesting that the local actor sell the fishes on his online live streaming platform. The local actor, however, was hesitant; mainly due to the fact that his live stream was for chatting purposes only. The notion that his audience wasn’t quite as ‘big’ at the time also served to delay his agreement.

But he ultimately decided to give it a shot.

“I started with cracking jokes, and also some dirty jokes. This is when more people start to share, from 6000 live viewers to 8000 to 10,000. When I saw 10,000, I am very happy. I broke my own record.

“That is when I begin to bring the fish out and it is commercial time!”

When he was selling fishes online, viewers would often ask questions about the item on sale. And while some are pertinent, others come across as ‘trolling’ in nature. Wang Lei says that he does not hold back from vulgarities when it comes to replying the latter kind of questions, though it helps that viewers seemed to be able to take profanities. Interestingly, viewership rates simply continued to grow as Wang Lei indulged in his own brand of humour.

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He attributed it to how everyone was staying indoors: during this ‘lull’ period, his live-streaming sessions have become a popular source of entertainment.

“Crisis turns to opportunity,” he aptly states.


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Image: Facebook (SBS – Sure Boh Singapore)

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Technology Helped… A Lot

According to the local actor, technology assisted his venture a lot. Which is interesting considering how he wasn’t the most tech-savvy, he said.

“The first day I did the live selling,” he said. “Around 300 people bought from me. When we go offline, we copied the particulars for seven over hours.”

All the copying was done by Wang Lei and his wife: particulars include address, contact and name details.

“My wife and I were busy copying till 5 plus a.m. the next morning. It was very tiring for us.”

As the first four live selling sessions were performed to help his friend, he did not receive a single cent from the sales. Gradually, however, he felt that he could venture into the business, and so decided to dabble in it himself.


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As it turns out, it was nothing short of a big revenue-maker.

“The first time I offered package deals, more than 400 people bought it from me.”

However, this also meant an arduous copying marathon.

“We copied till the next morning, 8:00 a.m,” he said. “I tell you, at that point in time, I really wanted to give up, it is very tough to do this business, and it is more tiring than filming.”

Even when he drafted in his own son to help out, the workload still sticks out like a sore thumb.


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It was then that his son, who was about to quit his job, decided to focus on the family’s fish selling business. Together with Wang Lei’s nephew, they designed a system to ease the entire ordering process.

“We will send you a link via WhatsApp. Once you enter the link, it’s like going into Taobao. Whichever fish you want to buy, we have it in the system. We list our entire inventory in the system.

“There are prawns, there’s codfish. Our inventory, alongside the goods that our suppliers provide us, are all in the system. The inventory has around 20 to 30 products.”

And it works in a fast manner as well.

“My son told me that the online shopping cart is useful, and it is convenient for me to send you a WhatsApp text. You just need to send me a WhatsApp text and I will forward a link to you. You just have to select and indicate your name and address and send it back to me. That’s it; it is a very fast process.


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“So even with 2000 to 3000 orders, we can settle it easily without the need to reply manually.”

And it seems that the system has also benefited the business model in the revenue-making area.

“The business gets better because of this. You wanted to buy a package initially, but you like to eat codfish, so you buy an extra codfish. That is how it helps my business to grow.


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And lest you’re wondering, payment works via the popular Paynow option, which is able to transfer money in between accounts with just contact details.

“Because the total amount that I gave you, is the exact amount to paynow me. It is very popular to use Paynow.”

He also acknowledged the world of computer technology and raved over how “amazing” it was.

“So what I have learnt as a senior, during this pandemic, is that the world of computer technology is amazing.”

Despite his success, however, the local actor remained grounded and attributed much of the online business success to luck.


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“When you talk about “Sell Fish Brother”, I would say that it is like it fell from the sky.”

Though if one thinks about it, it’s really down to the local actor’s charismatic presence and comedic brand of humour that make things tick in the first place. Luck may play a part…

But it’s not enough to make a person successful.

Congratulations on your success, Wang Lei! And we wish you all the best in your future endeavours, whether it’s an expansion of your online business, an anticipatory comeback to the Getai stage or just cracking all kinds of entertaining jokes on the big screen!

GIF: Giphy.com

You can watch the full Facebook video down below:


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Exclusive Interview with Wang Lei Part 1 卖鱼哥 独家专访 上集

Everyone knows who 卖鱼哥 is, but how did he become so viral on Facebook Live, what happens behind the scene, and how did he, despite the pandemic, creates an opportunity for himself during the circuit breaker. Catch SBS – Sure Boh Singapore Sure Boh Singapore's exclusive interview with Wang Lei aka 卖鱼哥 as he shares with us his journey on becoming one of the hottest Live Seller on FB in Singapore, Malaysia and now China!大家都知道现在最火热的网卖达人 – 卖鱼哥。想知道王雷-卖鱼哥,怎么在脸书直播变得怎么火红,幕后又发生了些什么事,他怎么在疫情里走出自己的路,在新加坡阻断措施时把危机转成商机吗?那就要看我们 Sure Boh Singapore 和卖鱼哥 – 王雷,的独家专访,他会分享他在网卖一路走来的过程,怎么变成新加坡,马来西亚和中国最火红的网卖达人之一。

Posted by SBS – Sure Boh Singapore on Tuesday, 9 June 2020


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