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Avatars And AI Technologies Are Being Driven By The Growth Of Livestream Shopping In China

Avatars And AI Technologies Are Being Driven By The Growth Of Livestream Shopping In China
In China, livestreaming is becoming increasingly popular, which is propelling the creation of new tech goods including mobile data bundles and virtual person broadcasters.
It's an attempt to innovate and monetize one of the few areas of the economy that is growing at a moderate pace.
According to a McKinsey report, at the most recent Singles Day shopping festival in November, sales of livestreaming e-commerce increased by 19% while sales of traditional e-commerce decreased by 1%.
Shops in China have scrambled to employ or train internal livestream hosts since the Covid-19 outbreak began in early 2020 in order to promote products. People who use livestream commerce to make money have become celebrities and sudden millionaires, like Austin Li, an online influencer.
“Livestreaming, particularly livestreaming commerce, is something no country in the world has anything at the scale China has,” said Daniel Zipser, senior partner and leader of McKinsey’s Asia consumer and retail practice.
Companies are already testing the use of digitally generated humans as livestreaming hosts; these hosts could be virtual humans developed from scratch or avatars that mimic real-life human hosts.
According to Forrester principal researcher Xiaofeng Wang, one trend that stuck out during this year's Singles Day was the usage of virtual livestreaming hosts.
"This year has seen a significant improvement in quality; the virtual hosts, from Tencent and JD, at least, appear more genuine," the woman remarked.
Wang continued by saying that using virtual livestreamers helps stores stand out from the competition and save money by eliminating the need to hire well-known influencers, who run the danger of becoming embroiled in scandals involving celebrities.
China is the world's leader in livestreaming, especially livestreaming business. No other country can match its scope.
Tencent has introduced a software that creates a virtual avatar from a user's three-minute video and one hundred spoken utterances.
Additionally, the company offers a platform called "Zen Video" that enables users to produce basic promotional videos with a virtual spokesperson.
Additionally, some businesses are fusing livestreaming with artificial intelligence akin to ChatGPT.
The world's largest online retailer reported that over 4,000 brands employed its Yanxi virtual anchor product, which is based on the company's AI model, in livestreaming events for Singles Day this year. The technology division of JD claims that one virtual streamer ran a continuous 28-hour broadcast.
Baidu, which is most renowned for its search engine and AI chatbot Ernie, entered the online retail space this Singles Day by implementing its virtual human livestreaming product "Huiboxing" on its "Youxuan" e-commerce platform for the first time on a large scale. According to the business, 17,000 virtual people streamed between October 20 and November 11.
Virtual human livestreaming contributed more than 3 million yuan ($420,000) in gross merchandise value in a single day for electronics manufacturer Suning during that period, according to Baidu. Sales are tracked over time by GMV.
Wu Chenxia, head of Huiboxing, said the solution leverages big data to instantly generate multiple livestreaming scripts. The digital human livestreamers are based on the vast language model powering Ernie bot and are now free for merchants to utilise on Baidu's e-commerce platform.
Regulators are keeping a watch on this industry.
China is not officially able to access OpenAI's ChatGPT. Beijing didn't approve Baidu's Ernie bot until late August, at which point it became generally usable.
A steady visual connection is also necessary for livestreaming to be successful.
On their phones, prospective customers are nearly constantly watching, however producers may attempt to broadcast live from the farm where their fruit is being grown.
In certain regions of the nation, mobile service providers China Unicom and China Mobile have begun to provide data bundles targeted towards livestreamers.
According to Joe Wang of Huawei's ICT department, these packets splice the network so that livestreamers receive priority service, much like an express lane on a highway may only be used by buses to avoid traffic.
According to Wang, 5.5G will potentially result in ten times faster download and two to three times faster upload rates than 5G. He predicts that by 2025, 5.5G will be available to customers, and that advances in AI would enable companies to easily convert 2D photos into 3D ones.
According to Wang, this suggests that in around two years, 3D livestreaming might become a reality.
Meanwhile, adult education course providers like Quantasing have joined the trend and are hosting livestreaming e-commerce, which generated 13.3 million yuan in GMV in August.
Quantasing, according to CEO Matt Li, hosts over ten livestreaming sessions concurrently and uses technology to determine what kinds of products and resources to allocate to each one in order to maximise revenue.
Livestreaming is governed by China's strict content regulations, despite its rapid growth.
Analysts have also noted that a lot of product returns result from livestreaming sales, which are frequently impulsive purchases.
Livestreaming sales has become a popular strategy used by companies, such as Jo Malone London and New Oriental, a Chinese education company, to stay in touch with Chinese consumers and encourage them to spend money.
Significantly, according to McKinsey's Zipser, companies are switching from using influencers—known as KOLs in China—to internal livestreamers.
“It is a clear indication [livestreaming] is not a hype, but it is something that companies are embracing and putting resources behind and the result of that is something that is here to stay,” he said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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