Live stream in Chinese e-commerce retail: the new way to market your product

The not-so-new live streaming feature is currently very successful in China for everything: sales, promotion, and branding, …Since the outbreak forced stores to close their doors, companies had to find an alternative and go digital. For several weeks, Chinese’s people life was exclusively digital for shopping, sport, entertainment, social life, and so on.

The direct consequence of this life of digitalization is the rise of videos and digital content consumption.  Livestreaming was already coming in China, but the situation made things go faster, and live streaming quickly became fashionable and a big opportunity for foreign and local companies.

Why is live-streaming a golden opportunity these days?

Chinese people’s attention is more than ever focused on the digital world with an ever-growing internet user base. With the rise of Kols, it was only a question of time before live-streaming become the norm when marketing in China.

If Daigou and Kols are part of the live-streaming success, the love for convenience of Chinese consumers was one of the major reasons if this success. It offers an immersive experience with social interaction, it is the most relevant way to reach a bored and isolated audience. Live-streaming is entertaining and creates proximity between a brand and its customer base, which is an excellent tool for eCommerce.

China Lifestreaming’s incredible numbers

In 2019, China’s live-streaming market reached about RMB 90 billion and is expected to reach RMB 112 billion in 2020.

For example, in 2019, on 11.11 days, Tmall’s turnover was about RMB 268 billion and Taobao’s live broadcast turnover was about RMB 20 billion. This feature used in e-commerce is more than efficient to make a business grow quickly. It is so efficient that pretty much every single Chinese social media and eCommerce platform has launched a live-streaming tool.

A concrete example is Lin Qingxuan’s live streaming on Taobao. Lin Qingxuan is the founder of an innovative cosmetics company that suffered from the outbreak since its shops had to close, making its turnover severely decrease. But in February, when Chinese people had to stay home, the company launched a large-scale stream shopping event. It was the first Taobao’s live broadcast: 60 000 people watched it and more than RMB 40 000 of products were sold in only two hours! A very good result in this period!

Best Social Media and App for Live-Streaming in China

You can choose to use the live-streaming feature on the most popular apps such as:

Chinese Facebook with over 1 billion daily users. Live streaming was recently in the testing process and is now available for official accounts and a few KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Streamers can program their coming live stream and send invitations to their followers so they can be on time to see the Livestream. They can also enroll by themselves. When Livestream will start, they will receive a push notification as a reminder. Same way youtube or IG does.

A booming platform for young modern women. Mainly focusing on beauty products, clothing and lifestyle it is a perfect platform to promote your products to reach your female target. Video content is booming on this platform: +265% of the video posted each month and over 100 million views for vlogs each month in 2019. The conversion rate is remarkably high in Xiaohonshu and it is just getting into live streaming, its next big step.

  • Weibo

Chinese Twitter with over 500 million monthly active users. Live streaming isn’t new for Weibo! Back in 2016, live streams were already booming. Later, in 2018, Weibo acquired Yizhibo, a top live streaming platform, and linked every Livestream on both platforms. This widened Weibo’s and Yizhibo’s audience and scope, thus boosting their total Livestream viewers.

  • Taobao

The main Chinese e-commerce website also started to undertake Livestream to boost sales. Increasing product trust and in a dynamic Livestream, the conversion rate for promoted products becomes even bigger. Doing your Livestream on this huge platform makes it easier for you to sell: consumers are already searching for something to buy and doing a Livestream is the best way to be visible and reliable to them.  

How to Choose a suitable KOL?

Once you chose the platform(s) where you want to be present, you will need one or several KOLs to promote your products.

Choosing the right ones is essential: the KOLs have to be aligned with your brand image. You can also choose to select only one big KOL with a huge base of followers or several medium KOLs with a reasonably large scope depending on your budget. 

KOLs promote a lot of products, which generally are:

  • Makeup and beauty products
  • Clothing
  • Video games and esports

But any brand can also use this lever to promote original products or events.

In the end, live streaming is THE FEATURE to use in 2020 to efficiently promote and easily boost any product. After choosing your platforms and KOLs, you will be able to add this feature to your marketing campaign and see how effective this will be for your business.

Willing to get in the live stream world?

We are GMA:

GMA Chinese digital ecommerce Agency
  • Digital marketing agency based in China
  • New digital trends specialists
  • Video and Live streaming services
  • KOLs marketing experts
  • Over 800 projects led in China


  • I heard about Taobao’s first live stream and the sales miracle it has done! And it has literally changed the game!!
    Since that day, brands realized live stream’s potential to increase their sales and figured out there was a better way to gain their consumers’ loyalty. Maybe VR lives will start to appear in a few years, who knows?

  • lionell

    Live streaming on TaoBao is possible? I didn’t know! If it’s a trendy feature, it will probably make great success stories. Live was already existing and working well on Weibo and I was aware of marketing campaigns for cosmetics brands were also working well on Little Red book. Many small influencers are on both platforms and their partnerships are multiplying at an incredible speed.

    I guess that means marketing campaigns for well on these platforms and it will be even more efficient with the live feature.

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