With the Covid-19 epidemic many sectors and industries were negatively affected, but thanks to the online world and e-commerce, new opportunities opened up for these companies and their employees, notably with the mass adoption of live-streaming & eCommerce. This continuous shift towards the online world of more and more sectors is expected to be the fastest-growing market trend in the near future. Therefore, if foreign companies want to remain competitive in the Chinese market they will have to adapt to these new tools. In this post, we are introducing you to Taobao Live, its features, comes cases studies, and why it is a tool you want to consider for your marketing strategy in China.

What is Taobao live?

Taobao overview

Taobao Live is the live streaming service integrated into the Taobao App, divided into categories of interest such as food, travel, lifestyle, etc. Taobao live is first on the list by popularity and market share. According to the latest Taobao Live data, the gross volume of goods generated by the platform has grown by 150% per year for three consecutive years. At the end of 2019, consumers spent over 350,000 hours every day viewing content on the platform. In the meantime, the newly registered accounts have almost doubled.

The use of the online video platform has continued to grow in recent months, as the brands and merchants that have suffered repercussions from the coronavirus emergency have increasingly turned to live streaming to resume business.

“The future of shopping will be more dynamic, interactive, and driven by real-time feedback. Livestreaming offers a peek into that future and new possibilities”

said Yuan, head of content operations at Taobao Live.

Taobao live has been a “lifeline” during Covid19

Meanwhile, offline operating modes were interrupted by the coronavirus emergency, Taobao Live offered companies a way to reach a large audience, given the over 800 million monthly active users who visit Alibaba’s e-commerce sites.

In February, Taobao Live removed registration fees for small merchants. The result is that the number of subscribers to the platform has increased by 719% compared to the previous month.

screenshot of a taobao live - china ecommerce
Screenshot of a Taobao live and Taobao live feed page

Taobao Live released an initial report on its activities in China in the last few months, which have aimed above all to support small traders and to allow those who have not yet done, to access the online sales sector.

Consumers can now find more products than ever through Taobao Live. Some of the most requested items came from traditionally offline sectors like cars, large appliances, and books.

Taobao Live accelerates digitization of all industries

Taobao Live users can watch all kinds of industries and products promotion, for example, they can watch:

  • Tech brands launching new products
  • chefs broadcasting cooking tutorials in restaurant kitchens
  • retailers promoting their furniture, clothes, cosmetics
  • rural farmers promoting their fruits and vegetables
  • auto dealers showcasing the interiors of luxury cars.
  • Museum showing artwork

Tech brands launching new products

For some brands, live streaming on Taobao live has been helpful in driving sales of new products.

For example, the Chinese tech brand Xiaomi tapped Taobao Live, among other Livestream channels, to broadcast the launch of its new flagship smartphone, the Mi 10, from its Beijing headquarters. The phone officially went on sale during Xiaomi’s Tmall Super Brand Day becoming the top-selling smartphone on Tmall, leading to over 300 million yuan in total sales for the brand.

Chefs broadcasting cooking tutorials in restaurant kitchens

The spread of the virus has also taken a heavy toll on the restaurant industry. According to a report released by the China Cuisine Association, about 73% of companies chose to close all their offline stores in response to the outbreak.

With offline businesses at a standstill, many restaurants like the “Meizhou Dongpo” began leveraging their staff to virtually connect with consumers and drive sales to their online stores.

Meizhou Dongpo’s chefs streamed live to show viewers how to prepare traditional delicacies. This allowed the brand to share its art with fans and receive direct feedback on its dishes. The sessions also directed consumers to products in the chain’s Tmall flagship store, creating another revenue stream for the restaurant.

Retailers promoting their products

According to Alibaba group news, wholesalers, retailers, and employees across China also started opening their online stores on Taobao during this Coronavirus epidemic. Data released by the Taobao company show that online stores have increased by 300% since February.

Companies started a new way of making online sales and managing their employees. For example:

How Does Yintai Mall Used Taobao Live Stream?

An example is that of the Yintai department store which registered 1000 salespeople who created more than 1000 live videos in just 3 days. This strategy has allowed the Yintai company to see its transactions increase to 10 million.

Red Dragonfly Increased their revenue with Taobao Live

Chinese shoe retailer Red Dragonfly has also chosen Taobao Live to move its online sales. Since February 8, the brand’s New Retail division has taken the lead in training all employees on the sale of products online and on the use of digital processing tools, such as Alibaba’s DingTalk app.

On March 8, the brand streamed a live streaming session with its founder Qian Jinbo who recorded over 435,300 views and helped increase the sales of its flagship stores by 114% year on year.

To allow even more companies to use their resources, Taobao Live said that its 2020 strategy will include training more than 10,000 physical store employees to turn them into effective Livestream communicators.


China’s second-largest home furniture retailer, Easyhome, said staff at 232 of its stores across the country broadcast 4,810 sessions to 3.58 million viewers.


In collaboration with brand partners such as Estée Lauder, Lancôme, Kiehl’s, Vans, and Baodao Optical, the Intime department store has launched an initiative that encouraged staff to stream from their homes.

Rural farmers promoting their fruits and vegetables with Taobao Live

taobao live streaming for chinese farmers fruit - ecommerce china

Taobao Live has become an increasingly important tool for farmers who wish to supply their fresh produce to consumers in the event of outages caused by the coronavirus epidemic. According to the platform, the new initiative aims not only to increase revenue for farmers but also to accelerate the digitization of the agricultural industry.

Data show that since Taobao launched the charity campaign to help farmers, online fruit consumption has increased by around 600% year on year, while vegetable consumption has increased by as much as 1300%.

Taobao Live’s success in generating revenue for rural farmers was particularly evident during the Covi-19 epidemic. Indeed, Alibaba launched a rural support program, which offered free registration and supply chain support to Chinese farmers, helping them promote their products.

There are now over 50,000 rural live streamers registered on Taobao Live, which to date has hosted over 1.2 million Livestream sessions related to agricultural products.

Auto dealers showcasing the interiors of luxury cars through Taobao live

Automotive brands have become particularly active on the platform, transforming employees in stores into authorized online retailers.

Taobao Live has said it has hosted, to date, over 15,000 streams relating to the automotive sector

Many Auto brands like BMW are leveraging live streaming to introduce consumers to car models, interiors, and experience test drives.

bmw - taobao live- ecommerce china

Museums showing artistic works

Taobao Live also collaborated with even more industries to bring their offline experiences and products online. These include tourism agencies, museums, such as the National Museum of China, Suzhou Museum, and Dunhuang Museum.

Why is live streaming effective in China?

Live streaming provides the trust and transparency that China’s eCommerce has traditionally lacked.

While the China eCommerce industry is huge, buying things online is often unreliable, due to the prevalence of poor quality items, and fake reviews.

Live streaming provides transparency. Chinese consumers can see what products actually look like, rather than just generic photos.

Live streaming also gives the seller the opportunity to introduce the product’s features and to demonstrate how to use it. In addition, viewers can directly ask any questions about the product.

Why is Taobao Live important for brands?

Taobao live is a tool through which you communicate effectively with your audience and consolidate brand awareness. Especially in this historical moment, live streaming can prove to be the winning tool.

Many businesses have taken up the challenge posed by the ongoing global pandemic to accelerate their digitalization. Many of the investments initially designed for offline have been moved online. All this with a view to reinventing their marketing strategies and consolidating the relationship with distant consumers.

By the way, the content is always the king and a brand should pay attention to it. It is necessary to start with quality content to increase brand awareness. Chinese users have increasingly sophisticated needs and require fun, informative, useful, and well-made content.

Taobao Live is an important tool for brands because:

  • It helps you to gain popularity among Chinese consumers as it is the most popular live-streaming tool in China
  • There are a wide range of industries and a wide range of consumers
  • It helps you to increase brand awareness in the Chinese market
  • To engage followers and to consolidate the old ones
  • To create brand loyalty
  • To increase sales thanks to its e-commerce platforms (Taobao, Tmall)

How can a brand use Taobao live to increase sales?

Due to the importance of Taobao life, the best way to increase sales is by collaborating with KOLs.

KOL partnership With Taobao Live

famous chinese kols on Taobao live - ecommerce china

Collaborating with famous influencers is now one of the marketing strategies preferred by many companies around the world. This tactic is particularly widespread in China, where influencers are known as KOL or Key Opinion Leaders.

KOLs are extremely influential, especially among young Chinese consumers. A product advertised by the KOL of the moment can in fact go out of stock in a few minutes, bringing big profits to the company with which it collaborates.

One reason is that KOL recommendations provide a sense of security in an e-commerce ecosystem riddled with fake companies, and knockoff products.

Therefore, the best way to attract a large audience and create immediate trust with your viewers is by hiring a celebrity or KOL. KOLs create entertainment for consumers and brands who promote with KOLs see a significant increase in sales and brand awareness.

However, you need to pay close attention because if the selection of KOLs is not preceded by careful research, the result of collaboration with these celebrities on the network could be the opposite of what is expected.

GMA can help you to find the best KOL for your brand and also set up your Taobao Live Account!

gma - DIgital Marketing Agency China

Do you want to know more about how to use live streaming to increase sales? Contact GMA a digital marketing agency, specialized in the Chinese digital market.

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