Taobao boosts livestreaming offerings to help digitise China's retail sector during COVID-19 crisis

The global COVID-19 pandemic has forced brands and companies to accelerate digitisation to minimise losses and maintain a reasonable level of sales. To cater to the rising demand for such transformation, Taobao Live has announced plans to boost China's retail sector.

At its annual Ecosystem Summit in Hangzhou, Taobao announced that in 2020 it would host daily livestreaming sessions from 300,000 merchants, with wholesalers and manufacturers in factory cluster areas - such as Yiwu in Zhejiang Province - forming the target audience.

Leveraging emerging technologies, including 5G, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality, the initiative also has the goal of training more than 10,000 retail salespeople across China at livestreaming. These streamers could potentially reach audiences of more than 10,000 people and incubate over 100,000 hosts with a monthly income of over RMB10,000. Taobao Live expects it will help incubate 200,000 offline retail stores as well.

“The current healthcare crisis is a wake-up call for retailers. It has prompted many to accelerate their digital makeovers, so their businesses will become more dynamic and resilient. With a vast audience and the technology to integrate online and offline retail, Taobao Live is quickly becoming the model of future retail. Livestreaming is now the primary infrastructure for e-commerce moving forward," said Feng Yu, senior director of eCommerce content at Taobao.

Furthermore, to help brands survive during the COVID-19 crisis, Taobao Live is removing barriers in February for new merchants to join the service, including waiving all service fees. This will allow merchants to use Taobao Live’s tools and technologies for livestreaming and launch new products instantly.

As a result, in February the number of merchants utilising Taobao Live for the first time increased by 719% compared to the number in January.

By the end of 2019, Chinese consumers spent an aggregate of 350,000 hours each day viewing Taobao Live programmes. Overall, gross merchandise volume generated by Taobao Live has grown by about 150% a year for three years in a row. Taobao Live said it's hoping these measures will allow it to continue its strong growth in 2020.


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