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Daily Drip

Kim Kardashian West Joins China’s Livestreaming E-commerce Craze Ahead of Singles’ Day

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As the build-up to China’s biggest shopping holiday mounts, e-commerce 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.

Kim Kardashian Viya Huang Tmall

Huang and West during Wednesday’s livestream (image: Alizila)

Tmall Global — Alibaba’s overseas outpost of the e-commerce 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.

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E-commerce livestreaming, which has surged in popularity over the past two years, could be a golden goose for Tmall and Taobao — Alibaba’s two largest e-commerce arms — in this regard. The number of e-commerce 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.

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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.

Mayura Jain
    Mayura Jain is a Shanghai-based writer, editor, illustrator and designer originally from Los Angeles. Before joining RADII as Life Editor, she worked for City Weekend Shanghai and Sixth Tone as both an editor and graphic designer. In her spare time she frequents art exhibitions, fosters cats, and chows on unhealthy vegetarian food.