Livecast #13: Raymond Huang, ex-CSO of MOGU, the 1st Livestreaming eCommerce Company in China

Raymond Huang was most recently the Chief Strategy Officer of MOGU (蘑菇街), a publicly listed Chinese eCommerce company, and the FIRST one to launch livestreaming eCommerce or live shopping in China, which accounted for an estimated $150Bn USD in GMV last year.

He used to be an investment banker in Hong Kong, and worked closely with Chinese tech firms e.g. JD, Bilibili. In 2018, he decided to join Mogu as Chief Strategy Officer. Learn about:

Why Mogu began experimenting with livestreaming eCommerce back in 2016;

What is Mogu’s technology lab and how it helps beginner influencers to start;

Why is the 24×7 supply chain throughout China essential to the rapid growth of livestreaming eCommerce;

What is the difference between QVC (TV shopping) and livestreaming shopping, and why livestreaming eCommerce hasn’t taken off in the west;

What are the major differences between western influencers and Chinese influencers;

What niche business models, special products are a good fit in livestreaming eCommerce;

What are the strengths of each of the major livestreaming eCommerce firms such as Douyin, Kuaishou, Alibaba and Wechat, and their challenges;

Why DTC brands are fond of building private traffic, and why Ray is skeptical about it.

TRANSCRIPT

Rui: [00:01:20] Hey everyone. I actually met the subject of our Livecast today, Raymond Huang on a Wechat livestream. That is, he was a guest on one of the popular tech blogger livestreams I tuned into often. And so I sent him fan mail and we got connected. Until recently Raymond was the chief strategy officer at Mogu (蘑菇街), a publicly listed Chinese e-commerce company.

[00:01:43] Now Mogu has seen better days, but trust me when I say that when it first started, it was definitely one of the most innovative and interesting e-commerce startups in China. I invited Ray to talk to our Tech Buzz China Insider community because Mogu was the first to launch live streaming e-commerce, whereas some call it live shopping in China, which accounted for, by the way, an estimated $150 billion in GMV last year. 

It’s also a business model that startups around the world are attempting to replicate. I swear, half of the entrepreneurs who sign up for my free office hours every Friday, or ask me about live shopping. It’s also already a huge part of the stories of Chinese Internet giants: Alibaba, ByteDance, and Kuaishou. And might soon make it into narratives of the Fang companies in the west too, or so they keep on saying. We’ll go into today why that might not be so easy. 

As always, Tech Buzz China Insider subscribers get to attend these events live and ask questions. So do join us without further ado. Here is Raymond Huang on live shopping. 

Okay. We’ll just get started because it’s quite late where Ray is. Ray, you are one of the people I had tweeted about over this last holiday weekend. It’s moon festival weekend in China, and you’re one of those four people that said the three-day holiday meant you’re even more free to chat.

[00:03:11] And we actually chatted at 11:00 PM, your time on Sunday. So you are definitely 996. 

Raymond: Probably more than that. I’m like 24/7. 

Rui: Okay. It is 11:00 PM where you are right now. So thanks so much for talking. 

Raymond: No problem. 

Rui: You actually originally said it was okay to do midnight. And then I was like, whoa, I would feel really bad. So anyways, let’s get started. 

Raymond: Okay. Sure. My name is Raymond. I was born and raised in China. I finished my college degree in Columbia and pursued a banking career after college, like everybody else did back in 2010. Not exactly the best timing to join banking as it was like post financial crisis. I went back to Hong Kong and had eight years in Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

[00:03:52] I witnessed a lot of things. Even after financial crisis, being a banker in Hong Kong is effectively a front row seat dramatic changing in China, was all the deals, all the transactions have done, all the companies we have advised, it was a life-changing experience. I help a lot of companies to get into the U.S., including JD, bilibili, iQiyi, LX, and many other companies. So it’s actually a very interesting experience. So that inspired me to join tech. So in 2018, so I joined Mogu and became the Chief Strategy Officer of Mogu. So my initial responsibility was actually doing the IPO, raising money and investing, but they don’t want to actually expand my responsibility to grow product, operations and all different things. After three years in Mogu, now I’m here, doing my own adventure now in Beijing. 

Rui: Thanks for that introduction about yourself. Could you tell us more about Mogu for those of us who are not as familiar with the company? 

Raymond: Sure. Mogu is a fashion focused e-commerce marketplace in China and our biggest strength, or the biggest differentiation is we’re very much focused on livestream e-commerce. So livestreaming e-commerce accounted for roughly 90% of our total GMV as of last fiscal year. It’s fundamentally a pure play of livestreaming e-commerce company. We’re actually the first one to start livestreaming e-commerce back in 2016. Actually we do three months before Alibaba did. We’re a very pioneer  in terms of innovating a new format of sales of interactive immersive sales in China.

Rui: [00:05:16] And that is why we have you on the show, because we want you to talk about livestreaming e-commerce and I think you’re one of the best people to talk about it, especially because Mogu was actually, like you said, the first to go into it. And I don’t think most people knew that you guys started a few months before Alibaba.

[00:05:33] I know this was before your time in the company, but do you know the origin story of why you guys started experimenting with it? 

Raymond: Sure. It would be a big lie if we say we can forecast or anticipate that livestreaming could be this huge hit in China in 2019/2020. But back then in 2016, it was because Mogu is actually a fashion focused marketplace. We realized our consumers when they come to Mogu, when they start to buy some clothes, that’s actually fairly difficult for them to make decisions. They will be looking at hundreds different clothes, which to choose from. And then when they purchase that particular clothes, it would be like, this is not what I saw on the app. This is not exactly the same. The color is different. The size is different. And I don’t look exactly like the one in the picture. That’s why people have bad experience when it comes to apparel shopping, and that results in high return rate, refund rate. We realized there’s a pinpoint here by information transparency. 

Live Streaming back then in China in general was actually fairly popular. YY, Inke, a lot of different apps were actually very entertaining. So we were thinking maybe we can just use live streaming as a way to showcase our product. They will be asking the influencer to step forward, step backward, turn around, stretch the clothes. Sometimes even cut it open and see what the material is inside.

[00:06:46] So it becomes a visual and interactive experience for them to see the products in real hand. They can see the clothes, they can ask questions in the live show room. They can chat with the influencers. The technology was ready. Wi-Fi was very popular in China in 2016. People can afford the data. Everything was ready. That took off in 2016, 17, 18, and then many other players followed. With a bigger supply chain and a bigger supply of influencers, they also joined the live streaming segment. So that became a huge hit in China.

Because of the pandemic in 2020, maybe people are bored at home. The best entertaining or interactive shopping experience is live. Live gave a final push to live streaming in China. 

Rui: Okay, I’m going to ask more about that later, because I’m going to ask you how it’s really different from QVC, home shopping, et cetera.

[00:07:33] But we actually went and took investors to China at the end of 2019. Mogu was actually one of the companies we visited and there were live streamers in your building on the top floor. Could you talk a little bit about specifically how the operations went? Why would you have influencers, for example, in your offices streaming from there and they were streaming basically full-time. 

Raymond: Yeah. So the short answer is no, we actually don’t have influencers in our office. The thing is more like an incubation, or I guess, a technology lab. Basically we have like tens of thousands of influencers actually doing the shows on our platform every day. All the inferences actually do their shows in their respective studios. That’s basically where they keep all the inventories, or clothes, or samples, or different things. 

We do have a little lab on the top floor of our building, and it was actually for new influencers. They don’t know how to start doing live shows. So that’s why we set up this, like a little lab for beginners. 

[00:08:28] In our company, technology guys aren’t the best. They actually go to the real setting and see how the influencers react with the camera, how they can use maybe a green screen, for example, to help the influencers to better portray these products. Aside from that lab, influencers have their own respective studio factory. They travel all over China to different supply chain partners and get the latest supply for their live shows everyday.

Rui: [00:08:49] Thanks for clarifying. When we were there, also, we were told by your colleague that a seven day turnaround from design to receiving the actual piece of apparel was already very common in 2019. Would you say that’s true? 

Raymond: Yes, that’s true. It depends on what type of clothes. On average, for summer clothes, maybe dress for example, the turnaround time from design to final product is probably three to five days. End to end when the day you place the order and you receive order is probably 10 to 15. Two weeks, you can basically produce anything in China. 

Rui: In a way, all these people expressing surprise about the Shein and supply chain, really that’s just available throughout all of China. 

Raymond: Shein definitely did a better job than peers. [00:09:31] It’s a factual statement to say that 24/7 supply chain is available in China, and it can be assessed by many merchants and many brands. Of course, how they actually assess the supply chain, how they actually leverage its supply chain is really up to every single brand and how they operate. 

Rui: Just because of flexible supply chain is there, doesn’t mean you can make a profitable business out of it.

Raymond: [00:09:52] You just lose money faster. 

Rui: So, okay. Now I want to go back to earlier. Cuz remember I said, I want to ask you about QVC because a lot of people just don’t understand [00:10:00] the difference between TV shopping, which we have here in the U.S. for decades, versus live streaming shopping. What do you think are the main differences that make life streaming more compelling in your opinion?

Raymond: [00:10:11] When we did the roadshow for our U.S. IPO in 2018, one of the investors is in his fifties, he was asking us about QVC and what was the difference between QVC and our Mogu live streaming. We did a product demo during our investor investment presentation. 

I was like, okay, this is a fall. And you can see this lady is presenting a clothes right now. [00:10:30] It was 5 pm eastern time, roughly 5 am in China. And he was like it’s impossible. I don’t think any influencer would do a live show at 5 am in China. It must be recorded. I was like, you can try to ask her a question. And he asked her random questions. So I was typing something like what’s the size or what’s the color, and the influencer just literally stopped and said, why is someone typing in English?

[00:10:51] Back to the question. I think the fundamental difference between that live show the investor saw, and QVC is very interactive, is nonstop, is omnipresent [00:11:00] and you have all kinds of influencers doing all kinds of live shows in this little app. And you can carry this with you on the go. And you can follow the influencers you like.

[00:11:09] You can always go to their shows. You can interact with people who buy the same clothes. You can complain. You have emotional exchange with the influencers. These are very very different from a recorded, a video play by QVC, or maybe even real time QVC. it’s very different from calling in to place an order versus you can just place order online, pay and checkout immediately. That impulsive shopping experience is very very different. [00:11:31] That’s why this generation is ahead of other forms of shopping. 

Rui: There are also a lot of tools because it is two way interactive, right? It’s not just users can call in, but the influencer or the seller themselves can also be constantly sending gifts or having challenges, basically gamified. It can give away red packets, have a lottery, make things fly across the screen, change special effects, all these crazy filters, all the sides. So it feels even more entertaining. So I think your point [00:12:00] about the impulsiveness is very accurate. 

I know you’re probably not as familiar with live streaming commerce in the west, but why do you think it hasn’t taken off in the west? Is it because people are not handholding the new influencers, like for example, you guys do in your lab, like Alibaba has done with all their training camps and investing in MNCs, discovering new talent and training them. [00:12:24] Is it something else? I guess for me, I feel like there are a myriad of reasons, but I’d like to hear your top reasons. 

Raymond: Sure. I don’t think that’s really the case in the west. The live thing is not popular in the west unless it’s news related. My oldest, a huge base of livestreaming users in China, also a huge subset of people who are live streaming fans and e-commerce fans.

[00:12:44] The e-commerce penetration in the U.S. is not as high as that in China, maybe just 2019 doubled the penetration. So e-commerce penetration is the prerequisite of live streaming. It is a subset of people who want a more impulsive, interactive, immersive environment to shop. They still go to Walmart, Target, Costco. They’re probably not the best target users for live streaming. I think that’s the number one reason, the entire social environment. 

Number two is supply chain. Because our influencers can go to a factory. It’s a showroom, pick up a sample clothes, sell this, aggregate all the orders. You can see the simple clothes from here in my showroom and place the order right away.

[00:13:21] All these clothes are actually not produced yet. And the factory doesn’t have any inventory risk. The influencers take 10%, 15% cuts. Consumers get maybe 30, 50% off. All these factors combined together, just make livestreaming e-commerce very compelling shopping experience in China. So people would just keep trading it. I think that that’s not the case we see in the west. 

Rui: The supply chain certainly isn’t there, that’s definitely in China. 

Raymond: If you look at Amazon live, if I feel that Amazon live is just a visual presentation of products. It doesn’t really add much value to the sales. Sometimes I saw Facebook live. Some of the hosts are doing this and that, the experience is not as engaging as that I had in China. And there’s no price difference. There’s no discount, no promotion. 

Rui: Do you think that’s just because of lack of training? If it just required more talent development. 

Raymond: We usually use the term influencer, but the way we talk about influencers in China and the way the western investors understand influencers is actually very different.

[00:14:15] The way we see influencers is like a Kardashian, or maybe an Instagram influencer who posts nice pictures. That’s all they do. 

But influencer in China is a very difficult job. They need you to look pretty, that’s basic. They need to be knowledgeable. They should know how these products were actually made, from which factory, with what kind of ingredients, when was the expiration day, how do you wear this, wash this, match this with other clothes, and all different things. And they need to be hardworking. An influencer in Mogu platform works roughly 12 to 15 hours a day. I think that’s a very challenging job. They need to hand pick every single product and kind of have a whole theater in preparation in their mind.

[00:14:51] If you think about influencers on Instagram platform. I don’t think they are the same type of person. It’s probably easier if you just go to Bloomingdales and ask the salesperson [00:15:00] to try to go live, because they’re more knowledgeable, they can give you a lot of tips. They know how the product works. They are also presentable, eloquent, articulate. They can be better candidates for this kind of live influencers. 

Rui: That’s where Austin Lee, the number two influencer in China came from, he used to work at the makeup counter in one of the shopping walls. Okay. So I think I’m going to combine a couple of questions. Sophia has a point that entertainment live streaming like singing, dancing, which was popular in China, actually gaming in the U.S. is quite popular. Twitch has 140 million monthly active users. 

It started off in gaming. Now it’s much more pan entertainment, but that is one vertical that the U.S. does have a strong presence in. Writing on the back of this point, what are some of the more niche business models or special products that you’ve seen do well in China? And I’m going to give you a hint in our prep call. We talked about What-not, right?

[00:15:51] What not is one of the live streaming companies that has gotten a lot of funding here in the U.S. and a lot of people are very excited. So, what do you think about that company? And what do you think about some of the more profitable niches you’ve seen in live shopping in China? 

Raymond: This is really about the value that live streaming can bring to the consumers.

[00:16:11] As I mentioned earlier, Mogu invented this format of live e-commerce because apparel is a sector that people need to see exactly what they will eventually get. So they need to be very comfortable with that information transparency. That applies to all the categories, for example, like antique, or maybe collectibles, vintage comic books.

[00:16:30] If you go to an auction, you would see people examining antiques with magnifying glass and staring at things for like four hours. These categories are usually the best for live streaming, because every single SKU is a bit different. Therefore, it has a lot of information. Live streaming can add value to this product presentation. You are seeing the real thing in the real setting without touching it, and did a million people actually seeing this with the same view, ask them to turn around the product, twist the product, or do all different things. They can have almost an offline shopping experience. That adds huge value to this product presentation. [00:17:03] Therefore people will be more comfortable to pay for it and to buy it. 

The other side of the coin is that only apply to business of one single SKU per trade transaction. But the other side of the live streaming is that it’s many people buying the same stuff at the same time that can push the merchant to give the lowest price, which is huge in China. That’s missing in the What-not scenario. 

So What-not is effectively one showroom. Okay. I’m going to sell these trading cards. It’s expensive. That’s a valid business. But can you also expand into other categories that the influencer or the host will be selling millions of SKU, millions of products at the same time? I think that will be a challenging mentality or mindset switch.

Rui: [00:17:48] Right. In our prep call, you had actually called live streaming a form of Groupon in a matter of minutes, thousands, or maybe even millions of units are sold. If you can guarantee that beforehand, then you can go to the merchant and then [00:18:00] get that group buying discount. 

Raymond: Imagine, this is just a Costco, right? If Costco is actually running a live show now, they have 50 SKUs and each SKU can be sold maybe a hundred million units. 

Rui: Okay. I wanted to ask of the existing platforms: Wechat channels, Kuaishou, Douyin, Alibaba, Taobao live. What are your thoughts on the platforms? How would you think about the key strengths and potentially weaknesses of these companies?

[00:18:25] And specifically, I think the one that people know the least about is Wechat channels, right? Because that is the newest. What’s your prediction for Wechat channel? 

Raymond: I wouldn’t ask about any sizable financial outcome from the Wechat live streaming channel. I think that part is just in the end a complimentary feature to the Wechat business, but the fundamental core value of Wechat is effectively a messenger App.

[00:18:48] They intend to keep it that way and that’s the simplest and the most powerful way to keep it the number one App in China. If they add more features to the app or you make the app complicated, people actually run away from this messenger App, that may potentially weaken the whole empire. So I don’t think Tencent is chasing after this tiny little GMV from live streaming e-commerce.

[00:19:10] It may be a topic for this discussion, but it’s not a topic on Pony’s table. That’s my view. Number two, I guess there’s a few other players. For example, Kuaishou maybe is losing a little bit of momentum here and there. Douyin of course is picking up really fast, still growing in China with all different versions.

[00:19:26] I think Douyin’s live streaming is very powerful and also has a closed loop transaction. However, I think Douyin sometimes monetizes too much. If you do a survey among all the merchants who actually run a business on Douyin. Actually, I did a talk in Guangzhou last year for the Single’s Day. I asked the merchants there. Did any of you guys make money on Douyin platform doing live streaming last year? I probably asked a hundred of them. Only 1% or 2% raised hands. 

Douyin is an extremely competitive environment. A lot of people just pay for the advertisements. People produce a lot of show videos to enrich the video library of Douyin, but that is not really getting much in return.

[00:20:03] Because the traffic is not stable, the following relationship is very weak. They don’t really have the prop like a traffic pool from the Douyin system. So they don’t really have a stable traffic to feed their e-commerce business. A lot of people are asking the question. I know everyone is all in Douyin, should I do the same thing? How much longer can I do this? I think that’s the question for Douyin. 

On the other side, Alibaba is more of a traditional e-commerce company. Now I just feel that the content is not really their strength, despite that they have the biggest supply chain in China. They have the biggest library of merchants. [00:20:38] They have all brands in China. But the momentum is actually not as strong as that of Douyin as we speak. If we compare Douyin and Alibaba closely, I think it’s fair to say that new brands, especially the new consumer brands in China, they probably spend a lot of marketing expense, marketing budget on Douyin, but they probably will make more money on Alibaba site.

Rui: [00:20:58] I think what you’re saying is that Douyin has a lot of user eyeballs time spent. So you need to spend marketing there, but you don’t actually make that much money off of the e-commerce. What I see when I talk to new brands is that they’re spending a lot of money on short video platforms to promote, they’re selling it on Taobao, and then they’re also at the same time trying to build up private traffic on Wechat. It seems like that is a strategy. They hope the latter one will really take off in the long run because that is the one they have the most control over. 

Raymond: I think people like the Wechat story more because investors just like the Wechat story. Perfect Diary did that in 2016, 17. Whenever I shop in China, people try to get my Wechat account. They’re trying to make me their siyu liuliang (私域流量, private traffic). But from a consumer perspective, I’m actually very resistant to that. I don’t want me to tap into my personal life. I don’t want them to just keep asking me if I need another perfume or clothes on my Wechat groups. It’s actually fairly difficult to execute that.

[00:21:58] But investors usually like this story. So that’s why a lot of new brands spend time, effort, money to construct a private traffic story in the hope that they can convince investors. My marketing expense eventually will go down because I have all these fans, all these Wechat groups, but in the end, I’m not sure if that’s very effective in the long run.

Rui: [00:22:17] Wow! Okay. That’s quite a bearish take. What if they provided a sense of community or content or promotions for VIP members within their Wechat channels? Because I think that is the story that they’re telling now. 

Raymond: So effectively brands will be selling their products cheaper to their retained customers, and if they don’t do that, they likely will lose the customers. That’s the other way to spin it. And that’s actually the case for a lot of brands. If they don’t give deep discounts to their customers, customers will walk away. What kind of brands is that though? 

Rui: Woohoo! Shots fired! Lots of the new consumer brands, I think, have this problem. [00:22:55] New DTC brands have this problem. Okay. Do you know what does the training process for influencers look like?

Raymond: This is really the only job training. Influencers will be driven by monetary rewards. They know they can be super rich once they become inferential. So they work extremely hard. They try out hundreds of clothes every day, 50 different makeup products on a daily basis.

Rui: [00:23:15] What motivates these influencers? Is it seeing people like Vya,  Austin be such breakaway successes? 

Raymond: Yeah, because he set up a super idol. Austin’s sales last year was 10 billion RMB. So he can probably take home like one to two billion-ish RMB. That’s a huge success for 30, 28, 29 year-old, and a lot of influencers obviously want to do the same. 

Rui: Jason has a question for you about, do you think Kuaishou does a better job on traffic for their influencers, because that’s their story. Influencers have more of a direct connection to their fans versus on Douyin, the platform, the algorithm makes more of the call. 

Raymond: My question for the question is why did Kuaishou change their old product [00:24:00] around somewhere last year? The feed was a dual pane. Dual pane feed effectively gives you exposure to more videos. People can click the video and choose the video. Why did they switch to a single pane and copy Douyin’s model? Why do they do that? If what they did was successful in terms of helping influencers.

[00:24:17] And if we cap the concentration of Douyin and Kuaishou, I actually don’t have the number here. My question is, which one has a higher concentration. By saying I’m giving my influencers better traffic, does that mean, I’m also giving my influencers concentrated traffic? Is concentrated traffic a good thing from an advertisement revenue perspective? That’s my question for the question. 

Rui: Okay, so you sound skeptical about Kuaishou’s claim basically. Ray’s referring to the fact that it used to be, and you can see this still in their following stream is still a dual pane where you can see at least four videos at a time. [00:24:53] And now for the recommended, it is straight up algorithm, just like Douyin where you only see one at a time. 

Raymond: Traffic is the majority of Apps’ traffic. The following is effectively a fraction of users who want to check their influencers. They actually click the following. 

Rui: Exactly. I guess everyone is going towards trying to make more Baokuan (爆款), which is more viral content because that is what the single pane algorithms it’s really best for, is for making viral content.

[00:25:22] Okay. Any other live streaming companies in China, or maybe just broadly e-commerce companies in China that maybe are less covered that you think this audience should know about? 

Raymond: We discussed a lot about Weipaitang (微拍堂), or Wanwudezhi (玩物得志) this kind of antique marketplace, could be a big thing in the live streaming e-commerce space, but they’re not public yet. [00:25:44] So I don’t really have good hand of their numbers. 

Rui: Weipaitang was a company that we talked about on the prep call that reminded me of What-not. And I said, What-not is similar, except I guess in China collect calligraphy scrolls, and here they collect magic cards. 

What is the typical commission paid to influencers in terms of GMV? And where’s the trend going? 

Raymond: It really depends on the product categories. For example, a new release of cosmetic products, the brands are willing to give the platform maybe 20%, 25%, and maybe another 20% to 30% to the influencers. It could be as high as that because the gross margin for cosmetic products like 75% to 85%, if you are selling snacks on the platform could be charged 3% to 5% and the influencers charge another 5%.

[00:26:26] But it’s not really about maximizing the commission. It’s about a good product mix. For example, for a four hours live streaming, the influencer will be starting with a blank face, and start putting on the makeups one by one, and start selling all these skincare cosmetic products. And with all these 50 different outfits and then end the night with portable hotpot, and also a lot of snacks before it goes to consume.

[00:26:50] They all try to have a very good product mix, make sure that their customers have a good experience. But of course the commission eventually comes from the pockets of brands. 

Rui: Okay. [00:27:00] So maybe actually, if you could give an example of the economics amongst the parties, so the platform, if the MCN, the host and the brand.  

Raymond: In the case of Austin Li, he’s selling most of his products through Tmall, GMV a hundred dollars, for example. Tmall will take 5% away.

[00:27:18] And because he strikes an advertising punisher with a brand. So the brand agrees to pay maybe $20 out of a hundred dollars, 20%. The punisher will go through the Alimama system. Alimama system will actually do a split between a platform and the influencers, the money goes three ways. So they have another way to calculate how the split Austin Li should get eventually. 

Sometimes brands pay Austin the replacement, kengweifei (坑位费) to get a slot because he has maybe 30 to 40 slots per day. The replacement fee is also very high. 

So if you count all these different marketing expenses altogether, [00:27:52] for Austin Li, I think roughly it should be around 15 to 20%. For all those smaller influencers, we should be looking at maybe 10 to 15 that goes to the inferences. 

Rui: Got it. And do you think the trend is going up or down on the platform side? 

Raymond: On the platform side, I actually think it’s not going to change that much though, [00:28:08] the overall competitive landscape. If the brands are strong, they should be able to keep more of their revenue. If the brands are weak and new, they do need to pay influencers to promote them. But given an intense competition among influencers, that general take among all influencers should be lower.

Rui: [00:28:25] Ok, last question. Do you think life shopping is an add on to existing social media platforms where traffic is already huge or should it be a brand new platform? 

Raymond: I haven’t ever seen a standalone live streaming platform, like a successful one globally. I think live streaming e-commerce is usually a division or a part of some bigger company, for example, Douyin’s live streaming e-commerce, Kuaishou’s live streaming e-commerce, Taobao Live, Mogu live. [00:28:50] It is usually a part of a bigger company. 

Rui: What the exception that I guess you can still have category niche players like Weipaitang, like What-not, focusing on specific like collectibles and then doing an auction format. That could be okay as a standalone. But I guess your point is that’s like a, really a global platform.

Raymond: [00:29:08] It’s not really sizable one. 

Rui: So you feel pretty strongly that this is an add-on to an existing large traffic platform. And so maybe the reason why we haven’t seen it take off in the west is because the large platforms haven’t made this a priority for their businesses, unlike Alibaba has done so in China.

[00:29:27] Okay. It is exactly midnight at your residence. So I want to thank you so much for taking the time to speak. I do want to give you a little plug at the very end. So Ray has left Mogu and is now working on his own, can I just say it’s a cross-border e-commerce project?

Raymond: We try to create a marketplace that helps the U.S. merchants to meet with U.S. consumers, but in a more mobile friendly setting.

Rui: [00:29:52] Okay. If any, you have a talent to recommend for Ray. Feel free to get in touch.