Taobao Live, a marketing channel launched by China’s largest mobile commerce platform in 2016, is fueling the digitization of China’s retail sector.

At its annual Ecosystem Summit in Hangzhou recently, Taobao announced plans to host livestreaming sessions from 300,000 merchants per day in 2020. Wholesalers and manufacturers in factory cluster areas, such as Yiwu in Zhejiang Province, will form the target audience. Because of the popularity of livestream, Taobao Live expects it will help incubate 200,000 offline retail stores.

Taobao Live also aims to train more than 10,000 retail salespeople across China to become live streamers who can each reach audiences of 10,000 or more and incubate over 100,000 hosts with monthly income over RMB10,000. Taobao Live and merchants are providing the new and existing live streamers with services and resources that would otherwise be valued at billions of yuan to bring in new traffic, recruit new followers and audience and facilitate transactions.

Overall, gross merchandise volume generated by Taobao Live has grown by around 150% a year for three straight years and so far this year looks set for continued strong growth.

Chinese consumers spent an aggregate of 350,000 hours each day viewing Taobao Live programs as of the end of last year. In 2019, new livestreaming accounts nearly doubled, compared to 2018. Livestreaming hosts are coming from all walks of life, the oldest being a 109-year-old wolfberry seller. Taobao Live estimates it has already helped create jobs around the country in new categories such as managers, makeup artists, and technicians to run studios for Taobao Live-specific content and onlineto-offline shop assistants who can explain livestream content to customers. And numbers continue to be strong so far in 2020.

Since launching its Rural Support Program in response to the pandemic in February this year, Taobao Live has opened up its platform at no cost to Chinese farmers. Taobao’s Foodie Livestream channel has connected farmers across China. Some 15 million kilograms of product were sold during the first three days of livestreaming, starting from February 6. Taobao has been working closely with county-level governments to identify selling points and increase the visibility and recognition of various villages participating in the livestreaming.

Source: Alibaba Press Release