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John McGee: Retail brands face existential crisis as online calls the shots

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Each night, Viya and her team of researchers and chatty co-hosts promote and sell hundreds of different products to captivated audiences, all of whom tune in via an app on their mobile phones (stock photo)

Each night, Viya and her team of researchers and chatty co-hosts promote and sell hundreds of different products to captivated audiences, all of whom tune in via an app on their mobile phones (stock photo)

Each night, Viya and her team of researchers and chatty co-hosts promote and sell hundreds of different products to captivated audiences, all of whom tune in via an app on their mobile phones (stock photo)

Every day, millions of people in China turn to the opinions of a 34-year old woman called Huang Wei. Better known as Viya to her devoted followers, she is the lead anchor of Taobao Live, a livestreaming show that is a hybrid mix of a shopping channel, and an entertainment and social media platform, all rolled into an ecommerce app.

Each night, Viya and her team of researchers and chatty co-hosts promote and sell hundreds of different products to captivated audiences, all of whom tune in via an app on their mobile phones.

Since starting her daily show several years ago, she has sold everything from beauty products, cars, houses, electronics, carpets and food products right through to holidays, doorbells and furniture. On Singles' Day in November 2019, which is the biggest shopping day of the Chinese shopping year, she managed to shift 3 billion yuan (€360m) worth of goods in the space of 24 hours.