Xiao Zhao and his companion on the livestream.
Two friends who tried to hide in an Ikea outlet overnight to livestream the experience were busted by security guards.
Over the weekend, a Beijing man named Xiao Zhao and his unidentified female friend decided to duck into a large closet in Ikea just after closing time, the Beijing Evening News reported.
Although some 8,000 people tuned in to their broadcast, it only took about 10 minutes for security guards to find the pair — presumably from the sounds of Xiao Zhao trying to narrate the event live.
Xiao Zhao wears a mask throughout the livestream.
The pair continued to stream the drama even after getting caught. They turned the live video off about an hour later when police arrived and demanded they stop filming and delete the stream.
In an apology to Ikea, Xiao Zhao said he didn’t mean to continue broadcasting, but that he forgot his phone was still capturing the event.
Xiao Zhao and his companion as captured in the livestream.
The stream was posted to Chinese livestreaming service Yi Zhi Bo (一直播), which encourages viewers to donate small amounts of money to the broadcaster.
The service takes a cut of its users’ donations — a revenue model commonly used by Chinese sites, including the platforms Huajiao and Ingkee.
Xiao Zhao, who livestreams on Yi Zhi Bo as "I’m Blue Fatty" (叫蓝胖子), said he only earned about 100 yuan ($14.5) from the stunt because he had to delete the broadcast, cutting off the possibility of earning more from people tuning in later.
A screenshot of Xiao Zhao’s user profile on Yi Zhi Bo.
But other reports have speculated that Xiao Zhao’s takings were more in the range of 60,000 yuan ($8,712), based on him earning 600,000 virtual coins on the platform.
Ikea said it would step up security after the incident to discourage similar stunts.