As the build-up to China’s biggest shopping holiday mounts, ecommerce platform Tmall fittingly brought out the big guns: Kim Kardashian West.
On Wednesday, West — arguably one of the world’s biggest influencers in her own right, with the most followers of any account on Instagram — made a guest appearance on a livestream with China’s top-selling influencer, Viya Huang. The reality TV star and entrepreneur promptly sold out her entire stock of “15,000 bottles of her name-brand KKW perfume in just a few minutes” and drew in 13 million viewers, according to Alizila, Alibaba’s official publicity portal.
Huang and West during Wednesday’s livestream (image: Alizila)
Tmall Global — Alibaba’s overseas outpost of the ecommerce platform — is using West to test the waters of its new Tmall Global Influencer Ecosystem, which aims to recruit around 2,000 consumer influencers from all over the world to sell imported products to the Chinese market.
Though West may be more of a household name worldwide, Huang, who goes by “Viya” online, is also no slouch when it comes to selling product. Last month, she sold a staggering 353 million RMB (equivalent to 49.7 million USD) of goods in a single day.
China Explained: How Singles’ Day Became the World’s Biggest Shopping Event
Ecommerce livestreaming, which has surged in popularity over the past two years, could be a golden goose for Tmall and Taobao — Alibaba’s two largest ecommerce arms — in this regard. The number of ecommerce merchants that used livestreams have reportedly doubled, and last year, Taobao’s 4,000 livestream hosts sold over 15 billion USD worth of goods, up over 400% from a year earlier.
And while women still dominate the livestreaming world, key male beauty influencers like Li Jiaqi, China’s “lipstick brother,” have garnered headlines for their pull among female consumers — Li recently broke a record by selling 100 million RMB worth of products in just six minutes.
Behind the Scenes with an Androgynous Livestream Star
In a slowing economy, and post-Jack Ma, many have speculated whether the yearly 11.11 shopping explosion will finally begin to see a decline in 2019. Yet by bringing in the likes of West, and by booking Taylor Swift for the annual 11.11 Gala, Alibaba seem intent on making it another bumper year. The company is also focusing on consumers in lower-tier cities for 2019, in addition to their international outreach.
We highlight our top stories each week in an email newsletter that goes out every Monday - hot, fresh, and straight to your inbox.
Don't worry, we don't spam
Thousands of earthlings have signed up for our newsletter, and you should do the same