Live Streaming in China // A Huge Craze Unrivalled Worldwide

Live Streaming in China 📽 Why Is It So Big?

Lex the Lion

There’s a craze in the Middle Kingdom that is unrivalled anywhere else in the world – we are referring to live streaming in China. But why?

No other country has a culture for live streaming like China.

Its popularity is increasing day by day.

China went well beyond the classical gaming live streams or Instagram live streams that are increasingly popular in western countries.

It’s taking over all kinds of areas that’d surprise you, but most prominently, live streaming in China has become a crucial marketing tool and is now inevitable when viewing the e-commerce field in the country.

Since it has become such an interesting phenomenon amongst China’s youth, we will find out what the hype is all about.

Live Streaming in China | What is Live Streaming?

Live Streaming in China | Popularity

Live Streaming in China | Brand Power

Live Streaming in China | Whose Behind The Camera?

Live Streaming in China | How Did It Become So Popular

Live Streaming in China | Live Streaming Apps & Platforms

Live Streaming in China | Just Hype or The Future?

Live Streaming in China | FAQ’s

Discover 10 things about China we’ll bet you don’t know!

Live Streaming in China | What is Live Streaming?

As the word already implies, live streaming allows you to either watch videos in real time or share videos in real time.

Essentially with live streaming you are able to listen and see someone at the exact same time and are able to interact with them – without any editing or cutting being done.

So, in a way your next video conference or online class would be a live stream as well, but not quite the kind we are talking about here.

We are talking about the live streams in China that are created to reach thousands of people and provide content for entertainment and a new form of online shopping. 

Live streaming can’t really be put into one box since it has evolved into so many different formats.

For instance, there are live streams where people just talk about their day, live streams of e-sports gamers, live streams about discussions, tutoring, shopping or even just walking around a city.

It’s quite a broad field of entertainment. But most importantly, it’s free.

Live Streaming in China | Popularity

Especially during times of the pandemic, the popularity of live streaming in China exploded.

Lex the Lion

Live streaming opens up the possibility to interact with other people in real time, since you can virtually meet people that share your interests and views.

It has therefore created a space to connect with others and allowed us to feel less isolated and lonely whilst being stuck in your home.

However, China went beyond the casual live stream that is solely created for entertainment purposes.

In fact, live streaming in China is becoming highly professional and there are big companies that back up some of the countries famous live streamers. It’s become a big business.

Since live streams in China reach thousands, or potentially millions of people across the whole country, it has developed into a highly effective marketing strategy – and that’s where Chinas e-commerce joins the chat. 

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Live Streaming in China | Brand Power

Brands collaborate with live streamers or celebrities to create content where they show, test and promote products.

Alongside this, when live streaming in China, the streamer can take advantage of large live audiences by announcing special deals and of course interact with the viewers to chat and answer questions.

Conveniently, within minutes the viewers can check out and buy that specific product.

… but that does sound familiar, doesn’t it? Do you remember those home shopping channels on the TV? QVC* is a classic example.

These live streams follow a similar pattern. Despite this note, that is really where the similarities end. Live streaming in China is much more modern and interactive with audience participation a huge thing, something a channel like QVC couldn’t compete with.

*QVC is an American channel and broadcast network that offers a televised home-shopping experience.

Live Streaming in China | Whose Behind The Camera?

Anyone can start a live stream. However, not everyone gains high viewer numbers.

Especially when live streams are created to boost sales and are used in order to increase traffic, the person who presents the product and interacts with the audience plays a crucial role. 

For big brands, or big companies the hosts are often famous internet celebrities or influencers, who already have a broad fan base.

These internet celebrities (网红 wǎnghóng in Chinese) earn money from viewers donations or from the products they promote in front of the camera.

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Wēi Yà 薇娅

The viewers communicate with them, can send them money or buy the products they are promoting. 

Here are China’s top two live streamers right now:

  • #Viya (Wēi Yà 薇娅) is probably the face of the live streaming boom in China. She started as a model and fashion live streamer but now owns her own company. She sells everything from skin care products to food. It is definitely not easy money though, since she streams four hours every day – seven days a week. 
  • #Austin Li (Lǐ Jiāqí 李佳琦) who started off as a beauty shop assistant is now Viyas biggest rival to the #1 live streamer spot in China. While he focuses mostly on lipsticks, he is estimated to make around $10 to $20 million every month. He states he is doing 389 live streams in 365 days, which shows that there is probably not much space for personal life. 
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Lǐ Jiāqí 李佳琦

CRAZY FACT | On Singles Day in 2020, Austin and Viya generated over 1 BILLION RMB in pre-sales, which is around $149.4 MILLION US Dollars!

These live streams often last for several hours.

Now think of how exhausting these video conferences are and imagine there are thousands of people focused on your every move, every single day. Sounds pretty intense.

That’s why even though successful live streamers in China may earn a lot of money, it can be quite exhausting, physically and mentally. 

Live Streaming in China | How Did It Become So Popular?

As you can tell by those numbers, live stream e-commerce is very big in China.

One of the reasons for that is that it makes shopping very convenient.

Viewers like to hear opinions and demonstrations by famous people and the live interaction makes them feel like they are talking to a friend, rather than a salesperson.

Especially during the periods of isolation, this provides a sense of company and also offers different views into other people’s lives. Something we didn’t get much of in 2020 in a personal sense. 

For many young people, it can also be seen as a chance to become a creator and to become famous, especially when they live in rural areas and don’t have the same possibilities as people from larger cities. 

Live streaming in China provides access to a massive audience, no matter where you are located in the country.

Not only can people in rural areas earn money with their live streams, but for instance, farmers are able to promote and sell their produce to urban consumers across the country.

On the flip-side, people living in the cities can get an insight into farm life and support remote farmers!

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Live Streaming in China | Live Streaming Apps & Platforms

Due the pandemic and the boost in popularity of live streaming, e-commerce platforms saw a huge growth in live streamers.

Taobao, which is owned by Alibaba, and Kuaishou are providing a huge live stream options and are probably the leading platforms in China for 2021.

The biggest competitors, JD.com, WeChat and Douyin offer shopping via streaming, as well.

As live streaming in China is such a lucrative strategy, more and more platforms are expanding their live streaming business. 

Things in China tend to move fast so don’t be surprised to see new and upcoming platforms come to the fore in 2022.

Live Streaming in China | Just Hype or The Future?

While live streaming is still mostly only popular in China, there are already signs of international interest.

For Singles Day in 2020, Alibaba introduced real time translations from Chinese into languages such as English, French or Russian.

This may show that an extended “live stream-wave” might reach western countries soon.

Instagram, Facebook and Amazon are already making their first steps, but are still a long way to reaching the success of Chinese companies. 

Live streaming in China is clearly quite a phenomenon and much more than just a hype.

Due to its popularity and its high impact on sales, it will definitely grow even bigger in the future.

It will be interesting to see if this Chinese trend will eventually reach other countries, as well!

Live Streaming in China | FAQ’s

Which apps and programs offer the best live streaming in China?

Taobao, which is owned by Alibaba, and Kuaishou are providing a huge live stream options and are probably the leading platforms in China for 2021.

The biggest competitors, JD.com, WeChat and Douyin offer shopping via streaming, as well.

Who are the biggest live streamers in China?

There are two stand out names for live streaming in China.

#Viya (Wēi Yà 薇娅) is probably the face of the live streaming boom in China. She started as a model and fashion live streamer but now owns her own company. She sells everything from skin care products to food. It is definitely not easy money though, since she streams four hours every day – seven days a week. 

#Austin Li (Lǐ Jiāqí 李佳琦) who started off as a beauty shop assistant is now Viyas biggest rival to the #1 live streamer spot in China. While he focuses mostly on lipsticks, he is estimated to make around $10 to $20 million every month. He states he is doing 389 livestreams in 365 days, which shows that there is probably not much space for personal life. 

Is live streaming in China popular in e-commerce?

Yes, hugely!

Since live streams in China reach thousands, or potentially millions of people across the whole country, it has developed into a highly effective marketing strategy – and that’s where Chinas e-commerce joins the chat. 

How do you say Internet Celebrity in Chinese?

Internet celebrity in Chinese is 网红 wǎnghóng.

Is live streaming in China just a hype phase or is it here to stay?

Live streaming in China is clearly quite a phenomenon and much more than just a hype.

Due to its popularity and its high impact on sales, it will definitely grow even bigger in the future.

It will be interesting to see if this Chinese trend will eventually reach other countries, as well!

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