Chinese Livestreamers Expanding Horizons: Chinese livestreamers are looking to expand their market reach by targeting TikTok shoppers in the United States and Europe. Despite uncertainties surrounding TikTok’s future in these regions, these livestreamers are optimistic about the potential opportunities.
In China, livestreaming e-commerce has become a massive industry, expected to reach a value of 4.9 trillion yuan ($676 billion) by the end of the year. Influential hosts like “Lipstick King” Austin Li have generated tens of millions of dollars in sales during single livestream events. Major brands such as L’Oreal, Nike, and Louis Vuitton have also embraced livestreaming to connect with more consumers.
The highly competitive nature of China’s livestreaming market has prompted some hosts to explore opportunities in Western markets. One such entrepreneur is Oreo Deng, a former English tutor who now sells jewelry to U.S. customers through TikTok livestreams, using her language skills and background in cross-border e-commerce to her advantage.
In recent years, Western e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Facebook have also dabbled in livestreaming e-commerce, taking inspiration from the success of Chinese platforms such as Alibaba’s Tmall, Taobao, and Douyin (TikTok’s Chinese version).
While TikTok has started testing its live shopping feature, livestreaming e-commerce is still relatively new in the U.S., where it is projected to grow to $68 billion by 2026. Facebook’s live shopping feature was shut down last year, and TikTok faces additional challenges due to potential U.S. restrictions stemming from geopolitical tensions.
Despite these hurdles, Chinese livestreamers see immense potential in the U.S. market, which is yet to be fully explored and tapped into. Shaun Rein, the founder and managing director of China Market Research Group, believes that the fierce competition in China makes the U.S. an attractive growth opportunity for livestreaming.
Chinese merchants also see an advantage in pricing their items higher in the U.S., where customers are accustomed to paying premium prices compared to China’s price-sensitive market.
For U.S. consumers, the livestream format has become an intriguing form of entertainment. Many have stumbled upon TikTok livestreams selling various products, from crystals to fashion items, and found it to be an addictive and engaging shopping experience.
Chinese livestreaming hosts, including Meow Crystals, have built loyal customer bases by offering personalized customer service and conducting flash sales with attractive deals. The hosts experiment with various tactics to stand out and keep their viewers entertained.
To capitalize on the growing interest in livestreaming, boot camps have emerged to train Chinese livestreamers on how to enhance their sales skills. Yan Guanghua, one of TikTok’s earliest livestreamers in China, hosts popular two-day boot camps, attracting participants from China, the U.S., and Africa.
The future of livestreaming e-commerce remains uncertain, but TikTok’s popularity as a platform presents promising opportunities for Chinese livestreamers to explore and expand their businesses in the overseas market.