By some measures, China has the world’s largest and most mature creator economy. Chinese sites embraced online tipping years before Western counterparts Twitch and YouTube. Before TikTok blew up in the West, the app’s Chinese version Douyin was already a hit in China. And the latest trend that has taken China by storm is livestreaming ecommerce, which consultancy McKinsey expects to generate $423 billion in transactions this year.
In China, local and international brands have generated billions of dollars in sales through celebrity influencers’ livestreaming channels, which promote consumer products on apps like Alibaba, Douyin and Kuaishou. But using influencers to spread the word comes at a high cost. The biggest livestreaming stars charge commissions of 20% or more.