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Your next Taobao shopping cart item: a USD 5.6 million rocket launch service

Livestreamer uses Taobao to sell rocket launch service for USD 5.6 million.

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Livestreamer Viya, one of China’s top livestreamers with over 18 million followers on Alibaba’s online marketplace Taobao, has sold a rocket launch service⁠—yes, from a company that sends rockets into orbit—on her Taobao channel for a “discounted price” of RMB 40 million (USD 5.6 million) during her livestreaming event on April Fools’ Day, a date that is purely coincidental.

The service will be provided by Wuhan-headquartered firm ExPace, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation Limited (CASIC), which specializes in sending Kuaizhou (KZ-1A) series carrier rockets into space. CASIC is also China’s first commercial rocket launch firm.

Viya, an e-commerce livestreamer who specializes in beauty products, snacks, and household goods, managed to sell one of the most expensive services ever on the platform. 

Viya sold one of the most expensive services ever on Taobao. Source: Screenshot from the livestreaming session.

While the rocket launch service was originally priced at RMB 45 million (USD 6.3 million), potential buyers could get a RMB 5 million discount from Viya’s livestreaming room on Taobao.

Using livestreaming to sell products at discounted prices has been a distinguishing characteristic for Viya, who last year managed to sell out 15,000 bottles of Kim Kardashian’s KKW-brand perfume over few minutes, together with the Californian celebrity during Alibaba’s Singles Day shopping event.

According to e-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), within five minutes, Viya’s livestream attracted more than 800 potential buyers, who paid a refundable down payment of RMB 500,000 (USD 70,385) each. The bid winner was Chang Guang Satellite Technology, a Jilin-based commercial remote sensing satellite company, which initiated further conversations with ExPace after the sale, Alibaba added, without disclosing further details.

The e-commerce livestreaming sector has been hotly contested in recent years and Taobao, which started the new format of online sales in 2015, is the current top dog.

On last year’s Singles Day, a nationwide e-commerce shopping festival, a gross merchandise volume (GMV) of about RMB 20 billion (USD 2.8 billion) was generated through livestreaming. According to a report from Commercial Merchant Securities, the e-commerce livestreaming sector was set to exceed a GMV of RMB 300 billion (USD 42 billion) last year in China.

More players have also entered the field, including short-video platforms Douyin and Kuaishou. Yesterday, Luo Yonghao, the flamboyant founder of indebted Chinese smartphone brand Smartisan, sold more than RMB 110 million (USD 15.5 million) worth of goods on Douyin, KrASIA reported, while Kuaishou’s livestreamer Dandan announced that her team sold RMB 480 million (USD 68 million) products on the same night.