Meet Viya: The 2.8 Billion RMB China Live Commerce Queen

This is Viya, the face of the queen for the live streaming e-commerce industry in China. This face has literally achieved some incredible feats of driving massive conversions and revenues via Alibaba’s Taobao live.

It is said:

  • For one single product, she could sell the total volume up to 650,000
  • The highest price of a product she once sold reaches RMB 27 million 
  • During a 5 hour session of live streaming video, the highest sales value she could rake in is RMB150 million
  • In 2018, the accumulated transaction value through her online charm is estimated to be RMB2.7 billion

It is said no one has been able to beat her unprecedented records so far.

Today live streaming e-commerce is a new multi-billion business. Taobao Live alone generated a sales volume of RMB 100 billion in 2018, increasing nearly 400% year-on-year; the number of live streamers soared 180% from the previous year; the conversion rate triggered by live streaming can hit as high as 32%.

Having said this, the beginnings of all things are small. Initiated by Alibaba in 2016, the concept was very much dismissed by larger/multi-national brands at the outset but quickly adopted by smaller/grass-root brands. The queen, invited by Alibaba to test the water, due to her substantial influence as an apparel model on Taobao platform back then, started her first live streaming show on May 19th, 2016, only 5000 online viewers participated. But the momentum was incrementally picking up. Combined with her previous experiences as a singer, model, fashion entrepreneur and e-commerce vendor, the role of the live streaming host seems to be her perfect job. It was not until October 10th, 2017 that her biggest turning point arrived. The media said she helped a fur coat brand sell approximately RMB60~70 million value of merchandising on that day. The instant fame soon attracted international brands like Unilever, P&G, L’Oréal coming to knock on her door for fortune partnership.

In 2019, as if adding fuel to the fire, the epic rise of the Lipstick Prince, Mr. Li culminated the national craze for the phenomenon of live-streaming e-commerce. A former employee from L’Oréal, trained by L’Oréal internal KOL incubation program, he is now setting up his independent studio, making millions of income, and more often than not promoting other lipstick brands such as Tom Ford. It is said he could test over 300 different lipsticks during 7 hours of live streaming while any product he recommends would be snapped up immediately by his loyal fans.

No longer do leading beauty/fashion brands take a rather slight view on live streaming e-commerce. If KOL economy is nothing new, KOL embedding into live-streaming has formed a new state of art in marketing and unleashed an exponential growth of consumption enthusiasm.

More internet giants are also joining or prepare to join the bandwagon, such as Tencent, JD, Little Red Book. Short video apps like Kuaishou, Douyin already rolled out a much shorter version (usually 10-20 seconds) of video e-commerce feature.

Whenever there is shit loads of money to be made, a wave of startups will emerge. There is the agency providing live streaming service for brands, doing all the dog work of finding KOL, designing the content, operating the video shooting, etc. There is the MCN (Multi-Channel-Network) agency, which primarily focusing on packaging and transforming a nobody into KOL stardom.

Even BI analytics enters into the scene. Although Taobao Live backend already has some basic data insights for brands, one startup claims they dive into deeper granularity, wider dimension, especially covering your competitors’ activity, trend, and spending on live-streaming which Taobao Live is never going to offer. In addition, it ranks all the live streaming hosts measured by different metrics in order to recommend the best money value and sales conversion combination for the brands.

As long as the hype for live streaming e-commerce continues, the startup believes its scientific approach and analysis will guarantee a lucrative return in the coming years.

By: Cecilia Wu