Chinese short video app Kuaishou launched an ambitious new plan on Saturday to expand its e-commerce presence, as livestreaming becomes a major sales channel in China. In the coming year, Kuaishou plans to incubate 100,000 businesses and help them achieve 1 million yuan (USD 146,000) in annual sales, the Tencent Holdings-backed platform said in a press release.
The Beijing-based company is also going to build over 100 industrial bases around the country, groom 10,000 livestreamers and host over 1 million e-commerce livestreaming sessions during this period, it added.
China’s livestreaming e-commerce market was estimated to be worth 433.9 billion yuan in 2019, and is expected to reach 961 billion yuan this year amid a surge in online activity during the coronavirus pandemic, according to data from market research firm iiMedia Research.
There were over 10 million e-commerce livestreaming sessions in China, attracting more than 50 billion views in just the first half of the year, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.
Kuaishou first attempted to squeeze into the already competitive e-commerce market in China two years ago with the launch of Kuaishou Shop, a sales platform within the short video app. Currently, there are over 100 million daily active users for its e-commerce services, with those from first- and second-tier cities accounting for 45%, the company said in the press release.
Kuaishou and fellow Chinese short video app Douyin—the Chinese version of ByteDance’s global short video sensation TikTok—have also been teaming up with online sales platforms to broaden their e-commerce reach.
Douyin and online retailer Suning.com announced a collaboration last month to promote the latter’s products, while Kuaishou partnered up with JD.com, the country’s second-largest e-commerce platform, ahead of China’s annual midyear 618 shopping festival to boost both platforms’ sales.
While their roles in these partnerships have primarily been as sales channels allowing short video app users to purchase products from e-commerce platforms without leaving the apps, Douyin and Kuaishou have both been moving to expand into the lucrative business.
Douyin announced last week that it would be tightening its e-commerce policies to ban links to third-party websites on its livestreaming channels, effectively preventing merchants from directing traffic to popular e-commerce websites like JD.com and Alibaba Group’s Taobao.
Kuaishou also said in June that it was investing 3 billion yuan to build a livestreaming ecosystem in Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China‘s Sichuan province.
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This article was originally published by the South China Morning Post.