Taobao live streaming empowers impoverished Chinese farmers

Taobao will use its live streaming technology to help incubate 1000 key opinion leaders (KOLs) in China’s countryside in an effort to boost rural development.

By helping farmers go online, Taobao aims to enable farmers to find new markets and customers from their homegrown products.

Taobao’s target is to boost the livelihood of 1000 farmer live streamers from 100 counties in China by helping each of them generate more than RMB10,000 in monthly income. The idea is to drive online sales of local agricultural products via live streams conducted by the newly minted rural KOLs – the farmers, themselves. To promote this new initiative, Taobao plans collaboration with county-level governments to highlight local points of interest and expand the popularity and recognition of various villages participating in the live streaming.

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“Our rural livestream program aims to empower local live streamers to boost business for poverty-stricken areas, while enabling farmers to manage their own live-stream e-commerce channels,” said Chen Lei, director of e-commerce content at Taobao. “It is Taobao’s devotion to poverty relief by leveraging e-commerce and live streaming via creative digital technologies.”

Last year, Taobao hosted more than 150,000 agriculture-themed live streams, which drew more than 400 million viewers. Taobao innovated the “Live on the Farm” model, featured with agriculture live streamers, KOLs, and even local government officials from counties to join live-stream sessions and promote their local goods. In January, Taobao’s “Live on the Farm” seven-day online-sales campaign generated more than RMB9.35 million in sales, right ahead of Chinese New Year.

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Many agriculture live streamers tasted their first success on the platform last year, including Chen Jiubei, who has helped farmers in her hometown in Hunan province sell up to 2 million kilograms of previously unsaleable oranges in just 13 days last winter.

Taobao also coordinated with county-level governments to provide a suite of livestreaming marketing services, including seeking out and training live streamers, as well as identifying local selling points. With more than 60,000 distinct live streams on agricultural products every month, Taobao is committed to driving RMB 3 billion in sales for the sector in 2019.

This month, Taobao will roll out live streams that introduce the source of a range of agricultural products, helping viewers discover the local landscape and customs where their products come from. In addition, Taobao also plans to partner with CCTV, Hunan Television and Zhejiang Television to develop live-streaming shows that invite popstars and celebrities to participate in poverty-relief activities, aiming to generate more public awareness for underprivileged areas.

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