Korean online giants Naver, Kakao face off on livestream storefront

2020.05.22 13:43:24 | 2020.05.22 13:43:55

[Photo by Kakao Corp.]이미지 확대

[Photo by Kakao Corp.]

South Korean online giants Naver and Kakao have entered a new rivalry on the livestreaming e-commerce front.

Kakao, the country’s top messenger operator, on Thursday officially launched its live commerce channel “Kakao Shopping Live,” joining portal giant Naver which plans to expand its livestreaming community by June.

Livestreaming commerce is a new form of online shopping that originated in China and is now gaining ground in Korea. Sellers market their products via livestreaming video, engaging directly with customers through real-time chats.

Kakao kicked off its first livestreaming program by selling Fila running shoes. The show was aired via KakaoTalk messenger, with users able to buy the product directly on the app. The company plans to adopt livestreaming to promote all merchandise on its e-commerce platform.

Kakao has decided to go all in after its pilot live-commerce program launched last October generated huge traffic. As of early May, its “Talk Deal Live” service had more than 40,000 concurrent users with cumulative viewers topping 360,000.

[Photo by Naver Corp.]이미지 확대

[Photo by Naver Corp.]

Naver has also upped its livestreaming game. In March, it added a live e-commerce feature on its Naver shopping tab and announced it would provide 320,000 sellers on its online smartstore the tools to produce livestreaming videos by the first half of the year.

Live commerce is already big in China.

Taobao, the world’s biggest e-commerce website run by China’s Alibaba, started livestreaming in 2016. By 2018, its daily average sales hit 800 million yuan ($112.1 million), with annual sales reaching 100 billion yuan. Taobao estimates livestreaming to drive 500 billion yuan in sales by 2021.

By Oh Dae-seok and Kim Hyo-jin

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]