Chinese video platform Bilibili has expanded its livestream shopping ahead of Singles Day after launching a shopping zone in the live streaming section on Oct.14, local media outlet Tech Planet reported on Monday.

Why it matters: As Bilibili aims to become profitable by 2024, expanding in livestream shopping aligns with the company’s overall strategy to pursue commercialization. The Shanghai-based company has tested several features associated with the business since last year. Timing the expansion ahead of Singles Day, reflects the company’s desire to use the annual shopping festival to bring a jolt of excitement to its live shopping business.

Details: Bilibili livestream rooms currently offer products from its self-operated stores, as well as from third-party platforms such as Alibaba’s Taobao and JD, a similar strategy that Douyin and Kuaishou applied to their e-commerce business in the early stages to save on supply chain expenses.

  • The company’s live e-commerce belongs to the live sector, rather than falling under the e-commerce business structure.
  • Bilibili started testing a shopping cart feature in its livestream pages last December in selected live rooms, letting users add items into a shopping cart embedded in livestreams. The feature has now expanded to most live rooms.
  • The youth-focused video site is converting content creators into real-time livestreamer through a rewards plan, with the company offering an RMB 50 ($6.9) reward to content creators for the first time they begin live commerce.
  • Many of the livestream content has little to do with items recommended in the shopping cart. For example, a content creator started a livestream on “the dream of the red chamber,” while recommended goods in the livestream interface vary from snacks to home supplies and skincare products.

Context: Bilibili’s revenue is mainly composed of value-added services, advertising, games, and e-commerce. E-commerce revenue accounted for 12.2% of the total revenue in the second quarter of this year, up 4% from last year.

  • Bilibili has experienced two consecutive quarterly revenue declines in 2022. The company’s net losses have widened in the past two years, with a loss of RMB 6.8 billion last year, an increase of 119% from the year before. In the first half of 2022, the company has already logged RMB 4.3 billion in losses. 
  • According to AdChina, e-commerce sales from livestreaming in China are expected to skyrocket to RMB 624 billion by 2023, showing that live commerce still has huge room for growth in the country.

Cheyenne Dong

Cheyenne Dong is a tech reporter now based in Beijing. She covers e-commerce and retail, blockchain, and Web3. Connect with her via e-mail: cheyenne.dong[a]technode.com.