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WeChat live Streaming pumps life into local business in China

Techcrunch | Rita Liao | May 8, 2020

wechat live streaming - WeChat live Streaming pumps life into local business in ChinaChina is showing renewed interest in live streaming. As the coronavirus swept through the country and shut down premises in droves, businesses are turning online to drive sales. Many have adopted live streaming, a model that predates the short videos that dominate many of our mobile screens now. Ecommerce titans like Alibaba, and Pinduoduo have ramped up efforts in live streaming, which sees customers interact with merchants and place orders in real time as many continue to avoid offline shopping.

An unorthodox player, WeChat, has also entered the fray.

The messaging giant, which commands 1.16 monthly active users, announced this week it’s partnering with the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou to host a live stream shopping festival in June. The news arrived not long after president Xi Jinping acknowledged the essential role of live streaming ecommerce in the economy, especially in promoting sales of rural produce.

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The initiative led by a municipal government to pump up the local economy through live streaming ecommerce is first of its kind in China. It should surprise no one that it’s slated to take place in Guangzhou, a major trade and export center, as the global pandemic depressed China’s outbound shipments, putting pressure on the authority to stimulate domestic demand.

Like most of WeChat’s extended functions beyond messaging, live streaming is built upon the mini program — or lite app — infrastructure. The feature now sees registered merchants in the several tens of thousands and remains free to use during the testing phase, according to WeChat. Retailers in grocery, tourism and fashion are by far the biggest beneficiaries. Nasdaq-listed travel portal Ctrip, for example, has racked up nearly 100 million yuan, or $14 million, in sales by promoting live on WeChat as airlines and tourist attractions are shelling out deep discounts. Homegrown lifestyle brand Heilan Home recorded more than 3 million viewers in one live session.

“In recent months, the demand for online shopping has surged due to the coronavirus pandemic. Selling through live streams is now a key way to help businesses reopen and resume production as well as stimulate consumer demand,” Gerald Hu, general manager of Tencent Guangzhou, said in a statement.

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Wechat wiki

wechat live mini branded programs - WeChat live Streaming pumps life into local business in China

What is the live stream on WeChat?

Functionalities and channels within WeChat to do a live broadcast

A few industries (graming, e-commerce to name a few) are active in live video broadcasting because:

  • the size market is growing (fast)

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Market size of online live streaming in China from 2016 to 2020 | June 2018 [Statista]

  • this distribution channel has proven tangible results.

online streaming growth in china - WeChat live Streaming pumps life into local business in China

A few data to support this result:

  • Source: iResearch
    • 63.2% of users watched live streaming to relax
    • 50.5% of live streaming user would make comments, over 40% of them would like it, reward hosts (free-to-play), and share videos to others
    • 86% of live streaming users thought positively about live streaming marketing. Among them, those younger than 24 years are more likely to be attracted by new products release and buyer’s sharing.
  • Source: Alibaba
    • In 2018, Taobao’s live broadcasting platform Taobao Live delivered more than 100 billion yuan sales of products, a year-on-year growth rate of nearly 400%.
    • In 2019, Taobao Live brought 20 billion RMB sales during Double 11.
    • A total number of 81 live rooms on Taobao Live reached 100 million yuan sales; a total of 5 organizations broke 1 billion yuan sales.
    • Taobao Live aims to deliver 500 billion yuan sales in the next three years.



How does it work?

There are several solutions to enable brands and businesses to do live streaming within WeChat.

Brands can:

  • set up their own WeChat-based broadcast channels (more details 👇👇👇👇)
  • collaborate with a 3rd party WeChat influencer with a relevant fanbase to host a live streaming session which doesn’t require technical development resource

Live streaming via a branded Mini Program

Live streaming component to integrate into a custom made Mini Program. It’s a templated feature.

Tencent releases a live streaming capability to be integrated into a WeChat Mini Program (MP) in 2020.

This feature can be relevant for eCommerce type Mini Program.

The brands can link from their Mini Program where the live streaming is happening to their branded online shopping channels so that the user is taken directly to the product page to buy.

  • Owned WeChat Mini Program shop
  • JD shop
  • Weidian

Case Study

wechat live stream case study - WeChat live Streaming pumps life into local business in China

Continue to the full Wechat live streaming tutorial guide -> here


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