Gree Electric Appliances, China’s top air conditioner manufacturer, had a taste of success in livestreaming sales as the company turned to e-commerce channels after the COVID-19 epidemic hit offline retailing hard.
Dong Mingzhu, Gree’s chairwoman, sold more than 310 million yuan (about 42.33 million yuan) of home appliances in a single three-hour sales event via Kuaishou, a leading short-video and livestreaming platform in China.
This compares to Gree’s 2019 annual sales revenue of 350 million yuan at its official online shop.
The livestreaming session, hosted by Dong and other internet celebrities, sold mainly air conditioners and air purifiers and attracted around 16 million viewers.
Gree is among many Chinese manufacturers who sought aid from new retail models that emerged from China's "contactless" economy as they were forced to shut traditional stores during the country’s fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.
The air-conditioner maker, who relies heavily on its physical shops, saw its first-quarter net profits down more than 70 percent year on year as both offline sales and product installation were almost impossible during the peak period of the epidemic.
Meanwhile, livestreaming shopping boomed as a new way to spur sales, which has been joined more and more by merchants, manufacturers, and even government officials trying to promote local agricultural products.
Online e-commerce platforms have also attracted more than 100,000 Chinese exporters who faced dimmed external demand and decided to turn to the domestic market, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
The number of livestreaming service users in China reached 560 million as of March, accounting for 62 percent of the country's total number of internet users. On Kuaishou alone, more than 100 million active users are engaged in e-commerce business daily, data from the platform showed. Enditem