Sales on Taobao Live, the live streaming platform for merchants using Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace, hit 2 billion yuan (US$280 million) just 90 minutes after the midyear shopping festival officially launched at midnight on June 1.
During this year’s so-called 618 midyear shopping festival, over 300 celebrities including singers and actors will join live-streaming sessions on Taobao Live while 600 company presidents will use the platform to sell their products, according to a post published Monday on Taobao’s official WeChat account.
Dong Mingzhu, the Gree Electric Appliances chairwoman known locally as the “home appliances queen”, will be one of the company leaders on the platform after she sold 310 million yuan worth of goods in a three-hour live streaming event on short video platform Kuaishou last month.
The midyear spending festival was initiated by Alibaba’s rival JD.com in 2004 as its own anniversary celebration but the event has since turned into a countrywide shopping spree on multiple platforms including Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall marketplaces as well as social e-commerce site Pinduoduo.
Chinese e-commerce platforms have doubled down on live streaming during this year’s midyear shopping festival after it became an important sales channel for traditional merchants during the countrywide lockdowns imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Luo Yonghao, whose failed smartphone venture Smartisan left him bankrupt last year, sold more than 100 million yuan worth of products the first time he live-streamed on short video app Douyin in April, with 48 million users tuning in. Chinese home appliances and consumer electronics manufacturer Haier launched new products via JD.com’s self-developed live streaming platform JD Live in February and saw transaction volume of 30 million yuan.
Last week, JD.com partnered with short video platform Kuaishou to boost its presence in live streaming. As well as using its own JD Live platform and the new partnership with Kuaishou, the company said it will also work with Bytedance’s Douyin, Tencent’s Wesee, and live streaming platforms Douyu and Huya to host 300,000 key live streaming sessions during this year’s 618 shopping festival.
The country’s second-largest e-commerce giant will also invite celebrities and some top executives from brands such as Chinese smartphone maker Huawei, Honor and Haier to live stream on JD Live.
Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.
Get the China AI Report 2020, brought to you by SCMP Research. Learn about the AI ambitions of Alibaba, Baidu & JD.com through our in-depth case studies, and explore new applications of AI across industries. The report also includes exclusive access to webinars to interact with C-level executives from leading China AI companies (via live Q&A sessions). Find out more.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Gree chairwoman Dong Mingzhu’s live streaming debut on Kuaishou snags sales of US$44 million in three hours
- Chinese internet giant Baidu invests US$70.5 million in live streaming amid coronavirus-led boom