AI hosts fuel China’s livestream shopping boom


Over the years, AI-driven sales have emerged as a new force in China’s fast-growing livestreaming e-commerce industry, where cartoon avatars cheer, dance, and rap to promote products on live shows.

HANGZHOU: “OMG!”, “Buy it! Buy it!” were some of the catchphrases that an AI-powered virtual host picked up from China’s “King of Lipstick” Li Jiaqi, the cosmetic salesman who once sold 15,000 lipstick tubes in just five minutes through livestreaming.

Over the years, AI-driven sales have emerged as a new force in China’s fast-growing livestreaming e-commerce industry, where cartoon avatars cheer, dance, and rap to promote products on live shows.

During China’s annual “Double 11” shopping spree on Nov 11, multiple brands such as Philips, L’Oreal, Unilever, and L’Occitane used virtual hosts to promote their products online all day long.

In recent years, China’s online outlets and brands have been increasingly hiring social media influencers with a large fan following or professional salespersons to help promote their products via livestreaming. While the streamer presents the products, product links and vouchers appear on the screen for viewers.

The country’s major online shopping platforms such as Taobao and its rival JD.com have both launched their own livestreaming platforms, Taobao Live and JD Live, which fueled the trend of livestreaming e-commerce.

Livestreaming e-commerce users in China came in at around 309 million as of June, roughly one-third of the total number of internet users in the country, according to a report released by China Internet Network Information Center in September.

The total scale of the country’s livestreaming e-commerce industry reached 433.8 billion yuan (US$65.69bil) in 2019 and is expected to double by the end of 2020, a report by global accounting firm KPMG and AliResearch showed. — Xinhua

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