After seeing the popularity of Chinese platforms like Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao, as well as Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese competitor in China, western e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Facebook have started experimenting with live streaming e-commerce as of 2019.

Despite doubts about the platform’s future in the US and other countries, live streamers from China have focused on TikTok users in the US and Europe, peddling anything from bags and clothing to crystals with an eye on a potentially profitable market.

A single livestream by well-known broadcasters like “Lipstick King” Austin Li can generate tens of millions of dollars in sales in China, where live streaming e-commerce is expected to exceed 4.9 trillion yuan ($676 billion) by the end of the year. To reach more consumers, many brands, including L’Oreal, Nike, and Louis Vuitton, have started adopting live streaming.

But because of the fierce competition in China’s live-streaming sector, some hosts are turning to the West to find niches for themselves.

For roughly four to six hours each day, Oreo Deng, a former English tutor, uses TikTok to livestream her jewelry sales pitches to US consumers.

Because live streaming on TikTok “aligned with my experiences as an English tutor and my past jobs working in cross-border e-commerce,” Deng added, “I wanted to try it.”

After seeing the popularity of Chinese platforms like Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao, as well as Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese competitor in China, western e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Facebook have started experimenting with live streaming e-commerce as of 2019.

Live shopping on TikTok has been under beta testing since last year. Online live stream sales are now possible for registered merchants from the US, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Singapore, among other nations.

However, live-streaming e-commerce has not yet become popular in the US. According to research and consultancy firm Coresight Research, the US, which has the largest consumer market in the world, would witness a $68 billion increase in the livestreaming e-commerce sector by 2026.

Due to the live shopping feature’s unimpressive reception, Facebook discontinued it last year. Due to tensions between Beijing and Washington, TikTok also runs the prospect of becoming subject to US regulations.

Due to the data it gathers, TikTok, whose parent business is the Chinese technology giant ByteDance, has been criticized for its ties to China and called a national security danger.

TikTok made no comments regarding this story.

Despite the criticism TikTok receives, many Chinese hosts see the US as a vast ocean of possibilities and an untapped market for live-streaming hosts.

Since competition is so strong in China, Shaun Rein, the founder and managing director of China Market Research Group in Shanghai, claimed that there are more opportunities for growth if one targets America. Livestreaming is only now becoming popular in the US. More chances exist to take market share.

Rein said that because American consumers are used to paying more for goods than they do in China, where profit margins are frequently razor-thin, Chinese retailers can frequently charge greater prices in the US.

The structure will succeed because it has been tested, according to Jacob Cooke, CEO of e-commerce advisory WPIC.

He suggested that smaller businesses, particularly those in China trying to sell on TikTok, could not have access to adequate information about what consumers desire in countries like the United States. Cooke predicted that they would start to experience great success as soon as they figured it out.

The live stream format is an intriguing kind of entertainment for some US consumers.

Florida resident Freisa Weaver, 36, stumbled onto a TikTok webcast hawking crystals 10 months ago. It used a common strategy known as a “lucky scoop,” in which customers pay a predetermined sum to obtain a variety of random items scooped out of a big container of crystals. In order to comply with gambling rules, TikTok banned this practice from live streams early this year. Nevertheless, some dealers continue to provide grab bags of goods that seem to be scooped off-camera.

According to Weaver, live-streaming shopping has become an obsessive activity. When she initially saw it while scrolling through TikTok, she was amused by the lucky scoops, she added. “Now, I frequently make purchases from some of the live TikTok feeds.”

I like talking to the host and having the chance to choose something special and different, especially for me,” she remarked.

Her preferred channel is Meow Crystals, which is run by Chinese streaming hosts and frequently holds flash deals where crystals can be purchased for as little as $2, and grab bags may be purchased for as much as $10. Since TikTok hasn’t fully implemented its built-in shopping feature, many streamers, like those from Meow Crystals, frequently direct viewers to make purchases on other websites.

The host will either remember what you like and offer it to you as soon as you log on, or they will go to the warehouse to purchase specific products for you, according to Weaver.

Chinese live streamers employ a variety of strategies to stand out and attract a following of devoted viewers. Others create flashy online personas and employ odd catchphrases to keep their consumers interested. For some, it’s personalized customer service.

Deng, the live stream host, declined to provide the specifics of her own strategy, saying that “every host is always experimenting and develops their own tactics.”

One of the earliest TikTok live-streamers in China, Yan Guanghua, is now hosting a well-known boot camp to teach Chinese live-streamers how to boost their sales.

Yan, a former English tutor like Deng, started live-streaming on TikTok after the government cracked down on the for-profit education sector.

Yan first made money online by selling yoga gear, gadgets, and clothing. She discovered she was good at live-streaming to consumers and has occasionally made 5,000 pounds ($6,510) per session selling to British customers.

She now charges around $1,000 for the two-day boot camps she offers once or twice a month to teach people how to increase their livestream sales.

More than 600 people, largely from China but also from the US and Africa, have reportedly been trained by Yan.

She shares the same optimism as many other TikTok live-streaming hosts that the international live-streaming e-commerce business would flourish as it did in China.

“It’s difficult to predict what this industry’s future holds. It’s challenging to forecast,” added Yan. However, TikTok is currently the most widely used site, and there are still opportunities on this platform, as far as we know.