The initiative comes after Taobao hosted more than 150,000 agriculture-themed livestreams in 2018, which drew over 400 million viewers.
Dubbed ‘Live on the Farm’, it saw farmers and local government officials come together on the platform to discuss key opportunities and challenges as well as training on marketing techniques. They were also able to promote their goods.
A seven-day marketing campaign in January to push sales through the medium delivered over RMB9.35m (£1.07m) to farmers.
Now, Taobao plans to use the same tech to “incubate” 1,000 key farmers from 100 counties in China and deliver RMB10,000 (£1140) in monthly income to each of them.
To promote it, Taobao will collaborate with local governments to highlight points of interest in the various villages participating in the livestreams and invite popstars and celebrities to participate in activities.
“Our rural livestream program aims to empower local livestreamers to boost business for povertystricken areas, while enabling farmers to manage their own livestream e-commerce channels. It’s Taobao’s devotion to poverty relief by leveraging e-commerce and livestreaming via creative digital technologies.” explained Chen Lei, director of e-commerce content at Taobao.
With more than 60,000 different livestreams on agricultural products every month, Taobao said it's committed to driving RMB3bn in sales for the sector in 2019.
Agriculture isn’t the only sector to benefit from these livestreams. Clothing and cosmetics companies, florists and jewellery makers have all been able to use the tech to introduce and recommend different products. In 2018, 81 livestreamers notched over RMB100m (£11.4m) in sales.
Established brands have also tapped into the potential of the medium. L'Oréal’s flagship store experienced a 20% increase in sales after two of Taobao’s most recognized livestreamers, Viya and Jiaqi Li, promoted the brand’s goods via a livestream.
Alibaba previously used 12 ‘village celebrities’ to host shows on the Tmall and Taobao to promote fresh produce from rural areas of China, such as special meats, to those celebrating with family dinners in urban areas for Chinese New Year.