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Live streaming to gain visibility and sales in China: how it works with case studies of Italian companies

Live streaming to gain visibility and sales in China: how it works with case studies of Italian companies

To achieve commercial success in the world's most digital country, it is essential to understand the methods and tools most commonly used, as well as to leverage emerging trends that often allow for cost optimization. Among these, live streaming commerce is rapidly changing the relationship between brands and consumers, along with sales prospects.


Live streaming appears to be now a fundamental strategic asset for operating in the competitive Chinese market, and, to quote Alibaba International Digital Commerce CEO Jiang Fan, what will be in the future "the mainstream model of e-commerce."

Let's explore together its characteristics and potentials, and how it can also work for your entrepreneurial venture.

The numbers of digital in China

It is becoming increasingly evident that in China, commercial success hinges on the strategic and conscious use of the many different local digital platforms.

Digitization is perhaps one of the words that best describes the recent economic and social evolution of China.

While the Asian giant lags behind some countries like Japan, South Korea, or the United States in terms of internet penetration rate, there is no doubt that the steady growth of netizens (网民, wǎng mín) has been consistent, and considering the size and population of the country, there are still significant opportunities for growth.

Of these netizens, over two-thirds access the internet through their smartphones, an endless source of services and applications and, as always, a vehicle for new trends designed to cover every aspect of social and private life.

Growth of internet users and mobile internet users in China

Among the various digital trends, in recent years, China has been a pioneer and remains the largest adopter of a new model of digital purchasing that is marking a new frontier in the relationship between the brand and the consumer: live streaming commerce.

What is the live streaming commerce?

In 2016, the Chinese giant Alibaba's platform Taobao experimented with this new and innovative commercial approach by combining a digital store with live streaming videos, thereby giving potential customers the opportunity to watch and buy simultaneously.

The logic underlying a live streaming session is relatively simple: a host, or even better a KOL (Key Opinion Leader) or a KOC (Key Opinion Consumer), showcases the products they want to promote to viewers.

While sales are undoubtedly the ultimate goal, the interactive and, above all, relational aspect is of no less importance.

GMV of live streaming commerce in China from 2017 to 2022

Viewers ask questions, watch the product being genuinely used or worn, seek opinions and details, and above all, they seek authenticity.

The numbers seem to confirm the growing interest of Chinese consumers in this type of commercial approach.

It's interesting to note the increase in the Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of products sold via livestream, which went from a modest $2.9 billion USD in 2017 to over $520 billion USD five years later.

Who are the streaming commerce users?

With such a vast and diverse internet population, the numbers of live streaming users are certainly impressive. In June 2023, the audience for live streaming reached a staggering 526 million users.

Among these users, there are obviously generational differences. Traditional e-commerce remains a fundamental resource, especially for Gen Y, the so-called Millennials, while the younger Gen Z generation tends to prefer live streaming.

Why can live streaming make a difference for lesser-known brands in China?

Trust, entertainment, and speed. We could say that these are the three cornerstone words on which the entire architecture of live streaming commerce is based.

While "traditional" e-commerce favors the active search for the needed product, also through the search for reviews and price comparison, live streaming is based on the desire to discover new products, seizing opportunities presented only to users in live sessions.

Much more than a 2.0 teleshopping, live streaming is an approach, and above all, a commercial mindset that emphasizes the experiential aspect and the bond of trust between the live presenter and the audience.

To benefit are certainly large companies, but also and above all those brands still relatively unknown locally, which can begin to build their own identity and attractiveness in the eyes of Chinese consumers as well as understand on the field what tastes and preferences are.

On Live: the words of a live streamer from one of our teams

Live streaming commerce is changing the relationship between brands and consumers. As we know, in a live streaming session, the consumer, or potential one, not only wants to make a purchase but also seeks a direct relationship with their live streamer, who thus becomes a true ambassador of the brand.

Since 2021, we at China Digital Marketing have been able to bring the direct experience of livestream commerce to fairs and companies.

The live streamer plays an essential role in strengthening the brand image, and for this reason, it is crucial to work with specialized professionals who have both technical skills and, above all, relational skills to communicate the product effectively. Doing so with improvised hosts can cause damage as it's uncertain what is being communicated or how it's being communicated.

Our live streamer, Vivi, an expert in the luxury and jewelry world, has shared some of her reflections with us.

  1. Do you think live streaming can improve the image of Made in Italy and give a boost to Italian companies in China? There is no doubt that live streaming can definitely improve the awareness and image of Made in Italy. In the past, it wasn't easy or obvious for Chinese consumers to buy genuine Italian products, but now, with live streaming and e-commerce, it has become easier, more intuitive, and above all, faster.

  2. In terms of sales, what has been your biggest success? I think one of my biggest successes was when, together with my team of three people, we managed to reach a sales target of 130,000 EUR in just one month!

Would you like to organize a live streaming session directly in your company? Contact us!

In reality: the experiences of F.A. Gioielli and Rosso Prezioso

The January 2024 edition of VicenzaOro, the international jewelry fair with buyers from around the world, was once again an opportunity to organize live streaming sessions to help companies enhance their presence within the vast and rich Chinese digital landscape.

Andrea Tenti and Olivia Saccomandi, marketing managers of F.A Gioielli and Rosso Prezioso respectively, had their first experience in the world of live streaming and wanted to share their impressions with us.

  • During the last editions of VicenzaOro, together with our CDM staff, we set up live stream commerce sessions to showcase jewelry to Chinese consumers. Were you already familiar with this type of activity? Can you tell us about your experience? What did you find interesting? Olivia: frankly, we were not familiar with live streaming from a commercial standpoint until we discovered it through CDM. I found it very interesting that the engaged live streamers were professionals in the jewelry sector and therefore very knowledgeable about materials and the production aspect. In my opinion, this is definitely a great added value and an advantage when it comes to telling the story of the product and what it represents. Certainly, another very interesting aspect is the immediate and direct sales, something that is still very little known in Italy. Andrea: I must confess that the first time was quite surprising! The level of interaction between the live streamer and the audience is really high, with many people asking for information and posing questions. It was evident that they were well-prepared professionals in this sector. I have never seen them under "performance anxiety" and it seemed like they always had the situation under control.

  • What are the main feedback in terms of taste and jewelry? And do you plan to replicate this activity towards China in the near future? Olivia: during the initial live sessions, we had a good first redemption, so we decided to continue with this activity to see how it evolves and to increase the brand awareness of our brand in the Chinese market. Of course, another important point is to continue selling the product through live streaming. Andrea: of course, we have just begun, so we want to replicate this experience as soon as possible. It wouldn't make sense not to try it again.

How can I start harnessing the potential of live streaming?

Live streaming represents an excellent investment for making your brand known at reduced costs, transmitting your values, explaining the origin of products, and gathering immediate feedback from the market.

Let's not forget that a live streaming session can last several hours, allowing you to expose the product's features to a diverse audience of viewers, thus starting to build a relationship of trust.

In the live streams we conduct daily at various companies, both in the jewelry world and in other sectors, we see peaks of up to 8000-9000 target users following the broadcast. Numbers that are extremely difficult to reach with any Western channel!

Can I livestream directly from my company?

Of course. The important thing is to choose a team of qualified and specialized professionals in the field, as well as to have coordination and control over what is said and how it is explained. Normally, live streams are never done and organized by a single person, as there is a lot of work involved both in the preparation and in the recording of the live stream, which typically involves 3 or more people.

We at CDM - China Digital Marketing are the partner of companies that want to step-by-step build a path to increase exports in the Dragon Country. Since 2021, thanks to our network of Chinese live streamers and influencers in Italy, we organize live streaming sessions directly in companies or at trade fairs.

To have an exploratory chat, write to us at

Would you like to understand how live streaming commerce can work for your company? Contact us!

Download your copy of our China Jewelry Trends Report 2024

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