business

Foreign brands see sales surge in Chinese market via live-streaming promotions, e-commerce platforms

A South Korean exhibitor promotes cosmetics via live-streaming at the China Yiwu Imported Commodities Fair 2020 held in Yiwu, east China’s Zhejiang province. (Photo by Qian Xusheng/People’s Daily Online)

“These grapes come from the alpine areas of South Korea. They are organic fruit and have a strong fragrance. You can eat the skin, too,” said the head of the China business of Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corp. in a live-streaming promotion in fluent Mandarin Chinese.

“Buy it! Buy it!” This popular catchphrase made famous by a Chinese live-streaming host was used by the commercial adviser at the Consulate General of the Republic of Chile in Shanghai during a live-streaming show to promote Chilean avocados and cherries.

The booming online market in China is seeing more and more foreign business executives, stars, and diplomats-turned-live-streaming hosts promote products on online platforms. These eye-catching foreign hosts have promoted various products, including black tea from Sri Lanka, edible bird’s nests from Malaysia, fish oil from Norway, blueberries from Peru, kiwi fruit from New Zealand, and chocolate from Belgium via live-streaming shows.

Chinese consumers embrace new technologies faster than Westerners, said Bruno Schiavi, co-founder of U.S. hemp and CBD health products provider Uncle Bud’s.

Schiavi likes the fact that he can get immediate feedback from consumers during live-streaming promotions, adding that they enable the company to have more interactions with consumers.

Uncle Bud’s joined Alibaba’s online marketplace Tmall not long ago. The company invited former NBA player Dakari Johnson to interact with Chinese consumers during its live-streaming show as its brand ambassador.

During this year’s “Double 11’ shopping spree in China, diplomats from 20 countries promoted their countries’ products via live-streaming shows, achieving striking results.

The innovative sales promotion mode featuring the combination of diplomats and live-streaming can build trust quickly and encourage consumers to make purchases without doubting the quality of the products, said industry insiders.

Statistics from China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) show that the first half of this year saw over 10 million sales through promotional live-streaming shows in China. These shows promoted sales of over 20 million items and were watched more than 50 billion times.

Experts predicted that the size of China’s live-streaming e-commerce market will reach 1.05 trillion yuan ($159.6 billion) this year.

Photo shows people making an online promotional video for a seller of imported wine in Qingtian county, Lishui, Zhejiang province. (Photo by Xu Yu/Xinhua)

Foreign brands that have committed themselves to expanding their influence in the Chinese market definitely do not want to miss this great opportunity.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Korean cosmetics enterprises saw the “Double 11” shopping spree in China as an important opportunity for a rebound in sales performance.

A brand under South Korean cosmetics giant Amorepacific scored over 100 million yuan in sales in the first three minutes of presales for this year’s “Double 11” shopping spree.

Japanese brands have also benefited from the festival. Although the COVID-19 pandemic prevented staff members of some Japanese beauty equipment manufacturers from going to China to promote their products in person, many brands, including YA-MAN, Kao, and Shiseido have managed to maintain smooth sales channels through the Internet, according to Japanese media.

With 1.4 billion people and a middle-income demographic made up of more than 400 million people, China is a huge market with the greatest potential in the world. The country is expected to import more than $22 trillion worth of products in the next 10 years, according to industry insiders.

The vitality of China’s digital economy and potential of the country’s domestic demand continue to attract foreign brands.

The luxury goods industry, which has been hit hard by COVID-19, has also ramped up efforts to seize a larger slice of China’s online market.

According to credible data, 10 luxury brands brought their latest products to China via the Tmall platform during this year’s “Double 11” shopping festival. Brands including Cartier and Vacheron Constantin took part in the shopping spree for the first time this year. Vacheron Constantin even debuted its new products, which it had planned to release in global markets this Christmas, at the “Double 11” shopping festival ahead of schedule.

Since the beginning of this year, China has become the major battlefield for many overseas brands seeking business growth.

During this year’s “Double 11” shopping spree, Tmall alone witnessed a total of 25,000 new foreign companies, more than 2,600 new foreign brands, and 1.2 million new imports joining the festival for the first time.

From Nov. 1 to 12 p.m. on Nov. 11, the transaction volume of imports on the Tmall Global shopping platform recorded a 47.3 percent growth year on year, while the sales volume of 180 foreign brands exceeded 10 million yuan and 816 foreign brands made more than 1 million yuan in transactions.

Favorable policies for cross-border e-commerce and support from the relevant major platforms can facilitate the entry of more overseas brands into the Chinese market, at the same time as bringing cross-border e-commerce onto the fast track of development, pointed out experts. 

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