The Hustle

Live shopping didn’t die with QVC on TV… it’s alive and well in China

In China, Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace makes $15B in sales by appealing to shoppers who want to buy products from a live stream.

August 1, 2019

Sandy Friesen makes handmade leather purses in Connecticut. But one of her top customer bases is China. 

Friesen’s company, Welden, is one of many fashion-related companies dipping into the Chinese live-stream market, where companies all over the world broadcast their wares to massive audiences.

It’s a market with millions of views and billions of dollars 

In China, some 500m people watch live-streaming on channels owned by companies like Alibaba. These programs are based around sales, and they’re hosted by online and IRL celebs. 

Welden’s VP of sales joined a fashion influencer on a live-stream on Black Friday, and thousands of viewers asked questions in real time. In the next 2 days, Welden made $350k — and now, the company sells 20% of its bags from Chinese live-streams.

Alibaba is the big live-streaming fish    

Most of the live-stream shoppers are women between the ages of 18 and 35. Amazon has tried to launch copycat live-stream services, but so far it hasn’t matched the success of the biggest Chinese live-stream channels, such as Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace.

Taobao Marketplace makes $15B in sales volume, and some of the top companies selling products make up to $400m.

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