Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com will partner with short video platform Kuaishou to boost its presence in live streaming as a growing number of traditional merchants move sales online following the countrywide lockdowns imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.
The partnership comes ahead of China's annual midyear 618 shopping festival and could give Beijing-based JD.com and Kuaishou a significant boost in sales from live-streaming to help them compete with e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba, which saw gross merchandise volume (GMV) generated from live-streaming soar 100 per cent year on year in the first quarter.
"The retail industry is facing challenges and opportunities from the increasingly diverse consumer demands and consumption scenarios," Xu Lei, chief executive of JD Retail, said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that JD Retail was "the leading retail supply chain in China".
"Through the partnership, the two parties will provide consumers with a high-quality shopping experience," he said.
Kuaishou, backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent, is a short video social platform that competes with Bytedance's Douyin. Although JD.com has its own live streaming platform, Kuaishou's 300 million daily active users are expected to give the e-commerce specialist a strong boost.
"This cooperation … is also in line with the goal of Kuaishou's e-commerce business to expand [into the market for] branded and high-quality products," Kuaishou said in a statement on Wednesday.
JD.com, the second largest e-commerce platform in the country after Alibaba's Taobao, will provide selected products for sale on Kuaishou Shop, the sales platform within the video app. Consumers will be able to make purchases directly from the live streaming platform without being redirected back to JD.com, which will provide delivery and after-sales service for the customers.
Under the partnership, JD Retail will analyse data on product sales while Kuaishou will provide an analysis of the live streaming metrics to improve the sales performance.
"Short video live streaming e-commerce has seen rapid development as a new format in the industry," Su Hua, chief executive of Kuaishou, said in a press release. "This partnership with JD.com will deliver a better shopping experience for Kuaishou users as JD Retail operates an industry-leading supply chain."
According to a report by QuestMobile published on Monday, the number of e-commerce live streamed broadcasts doubled over the recent Labour Day holiday period compared to a year ago, while sales made via live streaming were up 4.7 times.
Tapping into live streaming has become a hot trend in China this year as more enterprises in traditional sectors, including heavy industry and home appliances, found ways to reach out to customers amid the lockdowns and quarantine measures imposed nationwide to contain the spread of the virus.
Separately, JD's real estate business launched live streaming for apartment purchases, seeing more than 100 transactions for the period January 23 to February 21. In the same month Chinese home appliances and consumer electronics manufacturer Haier launched new products via JD Live and saw a transaction volume of over 30 million yuan (US$4.2 million).
Over at Alibaba, the number of daily active merchants using Taobao Live, the live streaming site on Taobao marketplace, saw an 88 per cent year-on-year increase for the first quarter. Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.
JD.com announced on Monday that it will host more than 300,000 key live streaming sessions during this year's 618 shopping festival. As well as using its own JD Live platform and the new partnership with Kuaishou, JD said it will also work with Bytedance's Douyin, Tencent's Wesee, as well as live streaming platforms Douyu and Huya.
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