Full Guide for E-commerce live streaming in China

You need to understand that live eCommerce, aka E-Commerce live streaming, is an opportunity for ALL brands from all industries in China. How to do it? Where to start?

Why e-Commerce live streaming in China is so special?

E-commerce live streaming is on the rise in China. Everything ranging from make-up, clothing, automobiles, homes, to even rocket-launching services can be sold during a live stream session.

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According to an iiMedia report, the e-commerce live streaming sector is projected to hit USD 129 billion in 2020, while the number of live streaming users in China surpassed 433 million last year, over 50% of the country’s netizens.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, as Chinese citizens are spending more time indoors, unable to visit offline retailers, more merchants are adopting live streaming to meet the demands of homebound shoppers. As a result, a number of China’s key opinion leaders, such as tech executives, entrepreneurs, and even mayors of some Chinese cities, are testing e-commerce live streaming, seizing this unconventional opportunity to boost their exposure and sales.

While many industries in the country stopped hiring or even started laying off employees, the demand for live streaming talents surged by 132% compared with the same period last year.

Governments and businesses alike are increasingly recognizing the potential of live streaming to market products, services, and even local tourist industries.

Why do many brands use live streaming as a marketing strategy?

E-commerce live streaming is becoming the most effective marketing tool for several reasons. The latter can in fact be used for various purposes, including:

  • product reviews
  • seeding of products
  • promotion of brand culture
  • increase of sales

The importance of e-commerce live streaming in China is also demonstrated by platforms such as Taobao live, Douyin, Kuaishou, Bilibili, Pinduoduo. Count millions of viewers and the recommended videos on these platforms can record huge amounts of traffic.

The diffusion of e-commerce live streaming is also in line with another fundamental aspect for each company: the budget. The realization times are short and the costs reduced. With a view to continuous improvement, this allows brands to diversify more quickly the video content to be launched on the media platforms, attracting a greater number of users.

Brands from all kinds of industries are entering this new era dominated by live streaming. From the tourism industry to the beauty industry, all brands are making effort to reach more and more digitized Chinese consumers.

How to use these Chinese Live streaming platforms?

  • Choose the best e-commerce live streaming platform

Before launching campaigns through a video platform it is necessary to understand which one is most suitable for your company by evaluating the different options in the market. For example, Bilibili is now a new trend for fashion and beauty brands, while Douyin remains the most used platform in the tech industry.

  • Creative content

Remember that users love and appreciate creative content. Content quality is the key to a campaign’s success.

  • China KOL collaboration

Celebrities and KOLs now produce the most popular content. Campaigns that cooperate with celebrities and KOLs can do better as a result. They increase brand awareness and, consequently, the sales of certain products and services, leveraging their social status and the trust that their follower base places in them.

The Chinese digital consumer follows the opinion of these figures very much and puts a lot of trust in them. And consumer confidence is what each brand needs to be able to see its sales grow in a given market. For this reason, in a digital world where users are constantly bombarded with advertisements and often false or low-quality offers, KOLs are a key figure.

  • Other functions management

Video sharing platforms can also be used by brands to: update their image, share promotional information, manage customer relationships, conduct market research, develop a direct relationship with their consumers.

Brands live streaming – case study

Tourism industry live streaming

  • James Liang (co-founder and executive chairman of Chinese major online travel agency Trip.com) live streaming

Liang’s live stream featured Sanya, the capital of Hainan province, showcasing hotel rooms and restaurant packages. He managed to attract more than 510,000 viewers, making it one of the top 20 most-watched events on the day, generating more than RMB 10 million in sales during the one-hour live stream.

In another live streaming session on April 2, Liang was dressed in a traditional Chinese gown while promoting hotels and other tourism products in Huzhou, Zhejiang province. Liang sold RMB 26.9 million (USD 3.8 million) worth of hotels and sightseeing packages, with over 1.71 million engagements during the one-hour session. A vice mayor of Huzhou also joined the session to promote additional discounts via Trip.com from the city government to boost consumption.

  • Wu Xiao the mayor of Furong town in Hunan province

Wu Xiao, the mayor of Furong town in Hunan province, a place is known for its Tu ethnic traditions, also promoted the town’s tourism industry in a Livestream session launched on Chinese e-commerce platform Pinduoduo. Wu wore a traditional dress while touring the town’s attractions during the Livestream.

Viewers were encouraged to visit Furong Town and were offered a “buy 2 get 1 free” discount for tickets sold on Pinduoduo’s travel page. Over 350,000 viewers joined the live stream, sending over 6 million messages.

China Tech industry live streaming

  • Smartisan

Luo Yonghao, the flamboyant founder of indebted Chinese smartphone brand Smartisan, sold more than RMB 110 million (USD 15.5 million) worth of goods, including gadgets, snacks, and even laundry pods during his first-ever e-commerce live stream on Douyin on April 1. More than 48 million viewers cumulatively flocked into Luo’s live streaming room on that day, and he attracted more than 200 million new followers after the show.

  • Gree Eletric

Dong Mingzhu, chairwoman of the world’s largest residential air-conditioner maker Gree Electric, began her first e-commerce live streaming campaign on ByteDance’s short-video app Douyin on April 24. Dong introduced 38 types of Gree products, including home appliances such as air conditioners and washing machines.

The one-hour live stream still garnered lots of traffic and attention. In total, over 4.31 million viewers tuned in. Dong received 3.4 million “Vibes” from viewers—the virtual gifts on Douyin, which equals to RMB 340,000 (USD 48,025.3).

Automobile industry

  • Dcar

Chinese automobile dealerships are turning to platforms like Douyin to drive up sales. They embraced live streaming as a way to keep the conversation going with potential consumers who were also stuck at home.

“The new trend of automobile live-streaming has arrived, which has captured the attention of both consumers and content creators with its informative, efficient, and interactive way of connecting to its users,” Ma Jun, Dcar’s head of product, said in a statement.

Beauty industry conquering China

  • Shiseido rolled out an online launch event in April with a visually appealing livestream that featured its brand ambassadors. The event had 1.34 million engagements and nearly 200,000 bullet chats, a more efficient and organic reach compared to typical offline launch events.
  • Lancôme’s recent “Aurora Essence” campaign exemplifies how site-specific sponsored videos can increase a product’s awareness among young consumers and drive organic reach.

China Fashion industry

  • Louis Vuitton teamed up with the site to promote its collaboration with one of the world’s most popular video games League of Legends, which resonated considerably with young Chinese users.
  • Fendi launched a banner advertisement last month to introduce its “Peekaboo Bar” campaign, which allows consumers to customize the brand’s well-known Peekaboo handbag. To reach the Gen-Z community, the campaign featured a comic-influenced illustration that was created by Bilibili’s in-house design team. The ad was well-received and sparked many consumer comments on the novel idea.

Sport industry

  • FC Bayern Munich has entered a partnership with Douyin enhancing the club’s fan engagement opportunities in China. In fact, this partnership increases the club’s commercial opportunities, offers fans ‘unique content’ and boosts its profile in China.
  • La Liga, the organizing body of the first two divisions of Spanish football, reached a content agreement with the Chinese social media giant Douyin until March 2021.

Chinese E-commerce players’ live-streaming take

Although Alibaba’s Taobao live and Douyin are currently the platforms of choice, Kuaishou, Bilibili, and e-commerce player Pinduoduo are looking to increase their market share.

Taobao live

Taobao Live is the most popular platform for live streaming: 79 percent of all e-commerce live-streaming transactions in China occurred on its platform.

In 2019, Taobao Livestream’s gross merchandise volume exceeded RMB 200 billion (USD 28 billion).

Taobao Live allows users to watch live streams and shop at the same time. KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) or Livestreamers will work with a variety of brands to give their users coupons or discounts directly and encourage consumers to shop.

Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma was one of the first ones to try live streaming in 2018 for a campaign on Taobao.

Manu brands from different industries use this platform to increase brand awareness and to sell their products.

Douyin (TikTok)

Behind Taobao Live in e-commerce live streaming, Douyin takes second place in China with 13% of the market. However, the COVID-19 epidemic has caused a boom in Douyin live streaming.  Currently has more than 800 million daily active users.

75% of users of this platform are 15-36 years old, which represents China’s new spending force as they don’t hesitate to satisfy their pleasures.

Douyin is the best tool to present a product and many brands, especially in the tech industry should know.


China’s third hottest short video app Kuaishou holds an 8% share of the e-commerce live streaming market in China following Alibaba’s Taobao Live with 79% and Douyin with 13%.

Kuaishou’s revenue from live streaming reached 30 billion yuan in 2019. To sell products, Kuaishou connects directly to e-commerce platforms such as Taobao, Pinduoduo, and JD.

more information about Kuaishou Marketing


Bilibili is a Chinese video-sharing website. Bilibili offers videos of various fields, including music, dancing, science and technology, entertainment, movie, drama, fashion, daily life, and even advertisement films.

Bilibili also includes advertising, mobile gaming, and e-commerce, and live streaming services where audiences can interact with streamers. To sell products, Bilibili is connected to the Taobao platform.

Given the appetite for consuming and sharing video content in China, many brands like Perfect Diary, Shiseido, Lancôme, Louis Vuitton, Fendi own official channels on the Bilibili platform.


Pinduoduo has launched a live streaming tool called Duoduo Livestreaming for “partners” who can boost the sales of goods on its platform.

Duoduo Livestreaming has already been integrated into the Pinduoduo app, allowing all its 536.3 million active users to be live streaming partners to promote millions of products listed on its platform.

Pinduoduo is most used by cosmetic brands to sell their products on the platform.

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