Chinese food delivery giant Meituan expands livestreaming to attract consumers in face of competition from TikTok sister site Douyin
The move it the latest example of how livestreaming – which has not yet caught on in the West – has become a key means of attracting e-commerce customers in China.
Chinese companies including online retailers, travel agencies and even fintech firms have used livestreams to attract consumers.
Meanwhile Douyin, which has 600 million users in China, has begun adding links to delivery services to its videos, posing a direct competitive threat to Meituan, which dominates the country’s food delivery market.
Douyin’s moves in the space include partnership deals with on-demand courier services such as JD.com’s Dada Nexus and Meituan competitor Ele.me, backed by Alibaba.
In response Meituan has begun hosting more livestreaming events, incliuding monthly livestreams on the 18th of each month since April where participants are offered coupons.
The company said Starbucks and local hotpot chain Haidilao saw increased sales last month during the week they held livestream events.
Starbucks, which promoted its frappuccino drinks through livestreams, saw national sales rise 370 percent during the week while Haidilao’s sales were up 51 percent, Meituan said.
Meituan said at its first-quarter earnings call that it had piloted promotional events in Beijing and Shenzhen mixing livestreaming, short-form videos and other formats to sell flash deals.
Co-founder and chief executive Wang Xing told analysts on the call that the company plans to roll out such events in more areas and “further focus on livestreaming” to stimulate demand.
TikTok said last month it was investing billions to expand livestreaming-based e-commerce in Southeast Asia, one of the company’s biggest markets, where it has 325 million monthly users.
The company last year scrapped plans to roll out such shopping services in Europe and the US after a UK trial found that the market “just isn’t there yet” in the West and that consumer awareness was “still low and nascent”.