Apps earnings

Best China Live Stream Apps You Should Know | Digital

After a long day, you settle in with your phone in hand, finally to the best part: open your favorite live-streaming app and tune into your favorite host as they showcase beauty products and luxury items galore. The livestream has become a comforting and recognizable part of Chinese netizens’ daily routine. So much so that live streaming in China is now a billion-dollar industry whose growth is only skyrocketing, both in terms of content diversity and viewership.

During repeated lockdowns, consumers flock to their screens to see their favorite KOLs – from local micro-influencers to major Chinese celebrities – sharing product reviews and brand recommendations. Accessible to almost anyone with a mobile device, live e-commerce offers a highly interactive and personalized presentation along with promises of exclusive offers.

From performance art exhibits to video games to luxury one-on-one consultations, more and more businesses are harnessing the e-commerce potential of live streaming. Even platforms like New Oriental, a largely content-focused company offering courses in English, history and culture, are turning to beauty products as part of their e-commerce arm. Outside of China, Amazon, Facebook and Instagram have also launched their own live streaming and sales platforms.

As this digital trend continues to thrive, social e-commerce could become the new e-commerce. After all, the gross merchandise value (GMV) of the live e-commerce industry is expected to exceed 2.8 trillion RMB (about 438 billion USD) in 2022 and 4.9 trillion yuan (732.8 billion USD) In 2023. Short video apps dominating the online ad space, here’s what luxury brands need to know about the four major live streaming platforms in China.


Coach regularly hosts live streams on Douyin. Photo: Screenshots

Also referred to as TikTok’s Chinese counterpart, Douyin’s live-streaming service pushes the bootstrapping of KOL products into the sales loop through the app’s interest-based e-commerce model. From initial interest to final transaction, luxury names such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Dior are leveraging the social commerce platform to effectively reach consumers stuck at home during the ongoing pandemic shutdowns.

Douyin’s live streaming feature is particularly popular with young consumers due to its low barrier to entry for selling products. Products promoted by popular KOLs can translate directly into sales, as shown by Coach’s collaboration capsule with Bape which sold out in just 6 hours after a live event featuring actress Qi Wei. With additional attractive features such as Douyin VIP Room, Flagship Store and Global Choice, the app has managed to establish a business model that works as a personal and business platform simultaneously.


Posts on Coach’s Kuaishou account range from a few hundred to over 10,000. Photo: Screenshot

While luxury brands have traditionally focused their attention on apps like Douyin and Bilibili, Kuaishou’s 578 million MAU and nearly $40 billion revenue backed by Tencent in the fourth quarter of 2021 are increasingly difficult to ignore for big brands. The recent debut of Live Coach on the app demonstrates brands’ interest in expanding their audience, especially in lower-tier cities that constitute a large concentration of Kuaishou users. Although it is too early to predict the future of luxury e-commerce on the social platform, the app remains a favorite place for millions of daily users to shop for affordable beauty products and food.

AA Live

YY Live, formerly a subsidiary of pioneering Chinese live-streaming company Joyy, was acquired in 2020 by search giant Baidu as part of a foray into video streaming and a push for video dominance. advertising in the ultra-competitive Chinese market. Although it does not have as many MAUs as the major platforms Douyin and Taobao Live, YY Live offers a loyal user group of paid subscribers for a large number of content creators. The platform’s hosts are promoting streaming and chat features with virtual currency which is then converted into real money, positioning the social network as entertainment-focused rather than strictly e-commerce. However, strong creator fanbases mean that user-generated content offers a direct pipeline to sell to communities, rather than passing viewers.

taobao live

Launched in 2016, Alibaba’s short video platform Taobao has quickly established itself as China’s largest B2C platform. With the largest e-commerce retail platform market share in 2021, Taobao has 840 million monthly active users (MAUs), captivating Chinese and international audiences with a mix of entertainment and commerce content.

Part of Taobao’s success in the fashion world is attributable to its highly diverse and affordable product line, which many consumers find to be tasty alternatives to more expensive versions of trendy clothing and lifestyle products. Coupled with lightning-fast supply chain response, Taobao makes it easy for live streamers to maximize the speed and agility of the number of products they can try, review, and sell to loyal audiences.

With the growing importance of brand awareness in China and beyond, live streamers are often the KOLs consumers trust and identify with, and therefore turn to for recommendations from products and services.