How brands can jump onboard China’s live streaming phenomenon

Live streaming has exploded in recent years with Chinese brands and consumers embracing the new format to share stories, live events and promote products and experiences.

China’s live streaming audiences continue to grow with the average user’s watching more than 200 minutes of live streaming content each month. Unsurprisingly in China’s mobile saturated market, 76.7% of total users are watching live streams via a mobile device.

Last year, China’s live streaming market produced revenues of more than US$4 billion and it is expected to pass US$5 billion this year, and triple over the next three years.

So, what are the opportunities for brands?

With the Chinese market flooded with live streaming apps, it’s hard to know which type, let alone with one to select. UMS has broken down the leading live streaming categories to identify the four different types of live streaming apps available in the Chinese market.

  1. Ecommerce

Live streaming apps that are embedded within ecommerce sites, such as Taobao Live, are proving to be hugely popular with consumers. The main purpose for these apps is to convert viewers into sales. This format received a major boost after the November 11 Singles’ Day shopping festival, known as “11.11”, when Tmall live streamed an eight-hour fashion show, launching new collections for some of its 100,000 listed brands. The“See Now, Buy Now” show was live-streamed on Tmall, Youku, and Mobile Taobao, and including appearances by KOLs and celebrities, who shared fashion advice and directed viewers to more products.


  1. Entertainment

Entertainment lends itself most naturally to live streaming and there are many apps offering live streaming for entertainment of all varieties. Two leading apps in the entertainment sector are YY Live and Douyu TV, both of these apps feature music, technology, sports, food, education and gaming. YY Live was one of the first live streaming platforms in China and has many partnerships in place with leading entertainment shows. As a result of this it has amassed a huge audience of more than 1 billion registered users and 122 million monthly active users. YY Live users open the app about 34 times a week. Douyu TV has more 200 million registered users and 1.2 million daily active users. Users access the app more than 30 times per week.


  1. Gaming

Live streaming apps that focus on the gaming sector, such as HuYa and Panda TV, specialise in providing gaming content to China’s huge audience of gamers. These apps have signed partnerships with top level game players to stream their daily training and gaming activities as well as broadcasts to followers. To extend the reach of these platforms, the apps also organise online or offline gaming related events and activities to gather their audience together. These apps also sponsor and partner with major gaming tournaments to build brand awareness as well as enabling followers to view the live action.  HuYa has 210 million registered users and 96 million monthly active users. Users average daily watching time is 135 minutes and users open the app more than 25 times a week.


  1. Millennials

Live streaming is hugely popular with millennials and there are a raft of apps that aim to provide a platform to engage with young people. Two such apps, Inke and Huajiao Live, regularly feature Chinese celebrities, who share their lives online and provide followers with a glimpse of their famous lives. These apps also encourage their young users to share their lives online and provide a community environment so that users can chat with people as they live stream. The apps are also socially enabled so that users can share the content via their WeChat and Weibo profiles.  Inke has more than 140 million registered users and 15 million active daily users. Users open the app nearly 26 times per week.