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Livestream e-commerce injects new impetus for China-Africa trade

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Livestream e-commerce injects new impetus for China-Africa trade

May 12
13:34 2022

Tungamirai Eric Mupona, a young Zimbabwean student, proudly introduced African specialties and delicacies at a livestream sales session from Hangzhou, the capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province.

“With a rich taste, Rooibos tea is one of South Africa’s most valued natural treasures, while dried mangoes from Uganda are sweet and the texture is wonderful,” said Mupona, 23, while touting the products with pride.

The session is part of a 15-day online African Products Shopping Festival that will last till May 12. Online events are being held across China to promote a variety of African products to the public.

Through e-commerce platforms, Chinese consumers can now easily shop for African goods like coffee from Ethiopia, black tea from Kenya and wine from South Africa.

Meanwhile, livestream e-commerce is fast becoming a new driving force for China-Africa trade, with young Africans living in China also joining in.

Mupona came to China in 2017 and is now pursuing a postgraduate degree at Zhejiang University. In his eyes, one of the most enjoyable aspects of his live streams has been the opportunity to share cultural stories from Africa with the people of China.

“By telling the story behind a coffee bean in a livestream session, more Chinese people can learn about the local customs and traditions of Africa,” said Mupona. “With promotion in livestream sessions, we bring African products closer to Chinese customers.”

Livestream e-commerce is a competitive industry in Zhejiang. With the interaction of livestream sales, offline exhibition halls and introducing the backstory behind the products, we can provide better shopping experiences for consumers, according to Zhang Qianjiang, deputy director of the department of commerce in Zhejiang.

“We set up five livestream studios in African countries including South Africa and Tanzania for the festival,” said Zhao Haoxing, founder of China-Africa Bridge, a service platform for cross-border trade.

During the session, a livestreamer based in South Africa introduced a popular local wine to Chinese audiences and showed them around the orchards and factories.

Digital empowerment can help more high-quality African products enter the Chinese market, said Mupona, who has participated in many livestream e-commerce events in China.

“Zhejiang is an important province in China’s cooperation with Africa, and has made many attempts to promote live-stream e-commerce into Africa,” said Zhang.

Last year, we held 106 livestream sales sessions during a three-month e-commerce promotion for African products, logging a turnover of more than 50 million yuan (about 7.48 million U.S. dollars), Zhang added.

The development of livestream e-commerce also offers a glimpse into the vibrant China-Africa trade, which has thrived against the backdrop of the pandemic.

According to the latest data released by the General Administration of Customs of China, the total bilateral trade between China and Africa in 2021 reached 254.3 billion U.S. dollars, up 35.3 percent year on year, among which, Africa exported 105.9 billion dollars of goods to China, up 43.7 percent year on year.

“African youths have high enthusiasm for cross-border and livestream e-commerce,” said Mupona, hoping that more young Chinese and Africans will participate in the promotion of economic, trade and cultural exchanges between China and Africa, and promote the healthy and stable development of China-Africa trade. 

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