As tempting as it is to skip a discussion of the COVID-19 pandemic and focu...
2020-07-27 1 ENGLISH REPORTS
Online shopping apps: Alibaba was the first eCom company to realize the importance of the live streaming function and launched these channels within Taobao as early as 2016. With 846mn mobile MAU and 726mn annual active buyers as of March 2020, Alibaba is more than just an online shopping vertical, as its rich functions, such as local services, ticket/hotel booking, second-hand products, classified services, etc. have propelled it to the top-layer of the traffic funnel. Following Alibaba, the other two major eCom players, JD.com and PinDuoDuo have also launched live streaming channels in their apps. The above eCom platforms also own industry leading fulfilment capabilities and payment services to close the transaction loops. In our opinion, they only need to enhance the conversion rate from the user traffic to the ultimate transaction. We view live streaming as the most effective tool to improve the user understanding of these products, as they organize promotions and help users make purchasing decisions. According to Alibaba, its Taobao Live Streaming function generated more CNY200bn GMV in CY2019, representing about 3% of Alibaba’s total GMV, implying significant improvement upside.
Pan-entertainment focused live streaming apps: This group of companies, such as JOYY (YY.US, not covered) and TianGe (1980.HK, not covered), are the pioneers of China’s live streaming industry, launching their services as early as 2008. They primarily concentrate on entertainment-focused content, such as live shows, dancing and singing. With blockbuster online gaming titles, such as League of Legends, Honour of Kings, PUBG, accumulating a large audience, game live-streaming services have become another popular vertical, represented by Huya (HUYA.US, not covered) and Douyu (DOYU.US, not covered). eCom was not an initial focus of the pan-entertainment apps. On one hand, with a MAU of less than 100mn about 2 years ago and a relatively low session frequency, these apps were not at the top of the traffic funnel for eCom services. On the other hand, their business revenues are mainly generated from virtual gifts to the hosts, which already generates quite healthy financial economics, thus we think the platforms lack the incentives to dabble in the relatively complicated eCom live streaming services. The situation started to change in 2019, as eCom live streaming became more prevalent and was accepted by the audience. Hosts can either introduce transaction leads to third party sellers, or close the transaction in the hosts’ own stores. The well-established offline logistics infrastructure also simplifies the sellers’ workload. We note products are mainly concentrated in non-standard SKUs, such as jewellery and sportswear.
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