Chinese e-commerce upstart Pinduoduo debuted its first livestreaming session on the platform on Wednesday night, signaling that it is looking to add the feature to revive growth after disappointing third quarter results.

Why it matters: Pinduoduo is stepping up efforts to capitalize on growing adoption of content-driven e-commerce after integrating a short-video feature earlier this year. 

  • Pinduoduo rival Alibaba, which has 4,000 livestream hosts, saw gross merchandise volume (GMV) generated through its livestreaming unit Taobao Live jump 400% year on year to RMB 100 billion ($14 billion) in 2018.
  • In addition to Alibaba, e-commerce platforms like Xiaohongshu as well as short video apps like Douyin and Kuaishou are trying to converge livestreaming and e-commerce in their fight for user attention.
  • However, problems that dog mainstream e-commerce such as false advertising also shadow e-commerce livestreams. Chinese regulators have stepped in to regulate the flourishing sector.

Details: Sun Jing, a key opinion leader (KOL) using the nickname “Xiaoxiaobao Mama,” kicked off a livestream session at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, engaging with more than 50,0000 shoppers during peak viewership.

  • Sun, a Forbes-certified expert on mother and baby care, introduced 16 products during the livestream ranging from cosmetics to health care products.
  • Before the Wednesday livestream, Pinduoduo promoted the livestream on the platform beginning a few days ahead of the event, asking users to engage by making an appointment.
  • Similar to its group purchase concept, users who made an appointment for the livestream can invite their friends to join by sharing a link or creating a poster to promote on mega chatting app WeChat’s social feed feature, Moments. Users and two friends who join the session using the invitation are given a 50% discount.
  • Users can also join the livestream and complete purchases through Goods Purchase, a Pinduoduo-backed WeChat mini-program that it is testing.
  • Pinduoduo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Context: China’s live-streaming e-commerce market is expected to be worth RMB 440 billion in 2019, according to report from securities brokerage Everbright Securities (in Chinese).

  • Alibaba’s Singles Day data shows live-streaming is becoming an increasingly important means to boost sales.
  • Xiaohongshu started testing a live-streaming feature in June this year to drive user engagement and boost e-commerce business.

Livestreams on Taobao Live earn RMB 20 billion in sales on Singles Day

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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