As live streaming continues to become one of the most popular forms of e-commerce in Southeast Asia, technology companies are increasingly integrating live-selling functionality into their applications. The latest example is Bigo Live, a live streaming platform owned by Chinese Nasdaq-listed company Joyy, which recently launched a digital marketplace in Malaysia.
Bigo Marketplace aims to help local micro, small and medium businesses increase their brand exposure and facilitate sales conversions through live streaming, the company said. The feature is currently in beta and is only available to registered users, broadcasters and providers. Bigo Live users can access the market through a new section called “Shop” on the app.
One of the new growth engines for Bigo Technology, the company that operates Bigo Live, is livestream shopping. The company is also targeting games and entertainment (multilevel products developed from intellectual property, such as games, cartoons, dramas, films and fiction) as the other two key verticals to the company. to come up.
Live commerce is growing in popularity thanks to its highly engaging model that allows creators to engage with audiences in real time. It is estimated that consumers around the world will spend $ 6.78 billion on social apps in 2021, according to a report from analytics platform App Annie. This is due to live streaming, and that figure is expected to reach $ 17.2 billion per year by 2025.
“Bigo Marketplace was launched after the success of our first online e-commerce event, Bigo Pasar Malam, in July. During the event, users were able to participate in live sales sessions simulating the Malaysian night market experience, ”said Bigo Vice President Mike Ong. KrASIA. He added that 100 broadcasters participated in Bigo Pasar Malam’s first e-commerce campaign.
Bigo Live follows the TikTok playbook, which has delved into e-commerce with its TikTok Shop feature introduced in April in Indonesia. Major ecommerce platforms such as Shopee, Lazada, and Tokopedia have also recently added live streaming features to their platforms.
“With the rise of e-commerce, consumers are overwhelmed with the options available, and there is a noticeable shift towards brands that emphasize authenticity. Live streaming can help brands build loyal communities, increase their fan base, highlight new products and services, and shorten the conversion time between browsing and buying, ”Ong said.
Ong has not disclosed whether the company will bring the new e-commerce functionality to markets beyond Malaysia, but it is likely that Bigo will expand its e-commerce functions to other countries.
Bigo Technology was founded in 2014 in Singapore by Li Xueling, president of video social media platform Joyy (formerly YY) and Jason Hu, one of Joyy’s early engineers. The two wanted to replicate the lucrative live streaming revenue model that Joyy enjoyed in China and decided to launch Bigo Live in 2016. The platform was targeting international markets, with a particular focus on Southeast Asia. .
Bigo Live got off to a rough start in Indonesia and Malaysia, two countries with strict anti-pornography rules. Content on the platform was partially blocked in 2016 by Indonesia’s Ministry of Informatics, which said the app posted “vulgar” content. The following year, Bigo Live’s service returned in full to Indonesia, but came under scrutiny by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission for the same reason.
Despite this, Bigo Live saw positive development in other markets, gathering 150 million users worldwide in 2017. The app also became profitable in the same year, generating a total turnover of 300 million dollars. In 2019, Joyy, who already owned 31.7% of Bigo Technology, bought the remaining 68.3% of shareholders, including Li Xueling, in a $ 1.45 billion deal. In February, Li, who is also the CEO of Joyy, took over the daily management of Bigo, according to the outlet. Late message.
What sets Bigo Live apart from other social apps is that it allows users to earn money on the app. Followers of the live broadcast sessions can send virtual gifts called “beans” to the live broadcasters, who can then redeem them for cash. At the current exchange rate, 210 “beans” can be exchanged for 1 US dollar.
Currently, Bigo Live is present in more than 150 countries and regions around the world. The platform is the second highest-grossing Chinese non-gaming app in overseas markets, just behind ByteDance’s TikTok. The company also operates the Likee short video app, one of TikTok’s fastest growing competitors.
Bigo Live offers a diverse range of content across various verticals including music, games, the outdoors, cooking, and social commerce. One of the most popular programs on the platform is Livehouse Music, a 24-hour live event featuring song, dance and other musical performances. The company also manages the Bigo Live Star Academy talent search programs in Indonesia and Bigo’s Got Talent in Vietnam and Thailand.
Read more: Inside Li Xueling’s return at the helm of Bigo | The fight to bail out a former TikTok challenger
Ong pointed out that the platform has a zero tolerance policy against illegal or inappropriate activity. The company works with local governments and law enforcement to ensure a safe and reliable environment for its users, Ong said.
“We continuously monitor illegal activity through our automated technology tools and our local content management teams of more than 2,000 employees in 15 regions around the world. We have achieved a 99% success rate in preventing illegal content from our apps. “
The company’s flagship app, Bigo Live, is seeing strong growth in its user base, Ong said. In the first quarter of 2021, more than 17% of active users hosted live streaming sessions, and the average time spent in multi-user audio and video chat rooms increased by 9.7% to 16.1 %, respectively, compared to the previous quarter. The conversation rate between the user and the streamer, which measures the exchange of messages between the two parties, increased by 11.2% in the first quarter.
In the second quarter of 2021, Bigo Live recorded 29.5 million Average Monthly Active Users (MAUs) worldwide. The live streaming application continues to be profitable and accounted for 90% of Joyy’s revenue in the fourth quarter of 2020. “Geographically, we have maintained our well-diversified goals and have seen regional revenue growth of 47.6% d ‘year after year. Revenues from Southeast Asia, in particular, grew 31.7% in the second quarter, ”Ong said.
The world is entering a “new age of social media” with the rise of live streaming as more and more users turn to video-centric social experiences that favor creators, Ong said. “We have noticed a shift towards authentic experiences as users benefit from more ‘virtual’ social relationships that unite the community instead of professionally produced content. “
The game as another vertical
“Gaming is another key area for the platform. We are running several in-app and offline gaming competitions to increase the number of viewers in the gaming segment. Some popular games that can be streamed on Bigo Live include Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, Fortnite, Call of Duty, and valiant”Said Ong.
The platform saw 40% growth in MAUs and a 74% increase in average user time spent on game content in the second quarter globally. Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand have become the top countries in terms of live games, according to Ong.
Bigo Technology plans to continue its expansion in gaming and entertainment through exclusive partnerships. “We have programs going on with game companies, entertainment companies, and TV shows to help our broadcasters grow and rise to be the celebrities of tomorrow,” Ong said.
“Our mission is to create a reliable and safe social live streaming platform for everyone. Bigo Live empowers our users to find their own voice and, most importantly, showcase their talents and content to a global audience, fueling the creator economy. This ensures the long-term sustainable growth of our social entertainment ecosystem. “