Taobao’s ‘e-commerce via live broadcast’ empire aims higher as annual turnover exceeds USD 15b

Alibaba is building its own live-broadcasting e-commerce empire, while simultaneously also being a backer behind Ruhnn, a platform that identifies and cultivates key opinion leaders.

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Taobao’s ‘e-commerce via live broadcast’ empire aims higher as annual turnover exceeds USD 15b

In e-commerce’s early days, shoppers had only pictures and text descriptions to go by before making a purchase decision.

Live-broadcasting has changed this. A live-broadcaster actually wearing the skirt you’re interested can provide more specific information. The same goes for a live-broadcaster introducing the features of a precious jadestone.

On Alibaba’s retail arm Taobao, goods sold via live-broadcasts in 2018 were worth a total of RMB 100 billion (USD 14.9 billion), the firm told KrASIA today. It has higher ambitions for next year.

Taobao aims to nurture 200 live-broadcasting studios that are able to generate RMB 100 million turnover each. In 2018, the number of live-broadcasters that achieved this goal was 81. These influencers were active in areas including clothing, beauty makeup products, jewelry, mother-and-child products, and suitcases or bags.

Taobao told KrAsia that it plans to generate an additional online turnover of RMB 100 million (USD 14.9 million) for 10 of its offline partners in 2019, via a live-broadcasting feature integrated on its main platform and a standalone app called Taobao Live-broadcasting.

These partners, which are called Taobao Live-broadcasting Cooperation Sites, are mostly traditional factories such as clothing and jade producers.

Alibaba is building its own live-broadcasting e-commerce empire, while simultaneously also being a backer behind Ruhnn, a platform that identifies and cultivates key opinion leaders (KOLs) who use social media platforms, such as Weibo and WeChat to promote goods on e-commerce sites like Taobao.

Through these KOLs, Ruhnn said it facilitated an aggregate gross merchandise volume of RMB 2.2 billion (USD 328 million) on various e-commerce sites in the first three quarters of fiscal year 2019. The company has filed for a USD 200 million initial public offering in the United States.

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