China’s E-Commerce Helps Thai Digital Economy Bloom

Manassawee Suangkaew (R) discusses the design with a staff member at her store in Bangkok, Thailand, Oct. 21, 2019. (Xinhua/Zhang Keren)

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — Young Thai clothing designers Nunthapong Boonnao and Manassawee Suangkaew used to run a store to sell clothes they create in the Thai capital. In 2018 they decided to close their store to set up an online clothing shop in Lazada, a major online shopping company in Southeast Asia.

“Lazada is one of the earliest e-commerce websites in Thailand, and we took advantage of that by setting up our own store on the website in early 2018,” Nunthapong said.

Thanks to the rise of online shopping in Thailand, the 18-month-old online clothes store named “LOONNY” is thriving. Nunthapong and Manassawee said the online clothing store has raked in income three times more than the physical store.

Founded in 2012, Lazada is now one of the regional leading e-commerce marketplaces. In 2016, China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba acquired the controlling stakes of Lazada, and started to export new business strategies and cutting-edge technologies to the Southeast Asian platform.


Nunthapong Boonnao is on live-streaming promoting his store at Bangkok, Thailand, Oct. 21, 2019. (Xinhua/Zhang Keren)

Live-streaming feature, one of the business strategies and technical supports that Alibaba provides, became an instant hit in Thailand, luring especially young Thais to go online shopping.

In China, Taobao Live, the Alibaba live-streaming sales platform, reached a turnover of 100 billion yuan (about 14.93 billion U.S. dollars) in 2018, with an annual growth rate of 400 percent. More than 600,000 varieties of commodities are sold via the platform.

With the help of live-streaming sales, the Thai users of Lazada also continues to grow rapidly.

In March, “LOONNY” became the first Thai store to use live-streaming to sell their clothes on Lazada. Through live-streaming platforms, Nunthapong and Manassawee are engaging with interested buyers virtually face-to-face to buy their clothes immediately.

“The Lazada staff suggested that we try live-streaming sales. Before using the platform, we had a hard time breaking into the online store business because online shopping at the time was not yet popular in Thailand. There were also many competitors around the time. But things changed when we started live-streaming sales,” Nunthapong said.

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Staff memebers of Lazada discuss in a meeting room in Bangkok, Thailand, Oct. 21, 2019. (Xinhua/Zhang Keren)

After the initial broadcast, Nunthapong and Manassawee said they were amazed at the result of live-streaming to pitch the clothes they create.

“Live streaming made our work easier. It’s better than just showing pictures and videos of the products that you sell online,” Nunthapong said.

Before they discovered the magic of live streaming, the two Thai designers said it took them several days to display their clothes online because they need to hire photographers and models, and upload the pictures and videos on their online store.

“Nowadays, we can show our new clothing collection in an hour via live streaming,” Nunthapong said.

Nunthapong and Manassawee go on live-streaming once a month to promote their store and the clothes they create. With the help of live-streaming sales, the designers said their sales increase 10 percent to 20 percent every time.

Nunthapong Boonnao (Front) and Manassawee Suangkaew (1st, R) go on live-streaming to promote their store at Bangkok, Thailand, Oct. 21, 2019. (Xinhua/Zhang Keren)

Pierre Poignant, chief executive officer of Lazada, said the technology platform from Alibaba is a big boost to Lazada’s capacity to innovate and bring products to the local market, and ultimately serve customers and sellers.

Joyce Tsao, the senior manager of Lazada Thailand, told Xinhua that both Thai online sellers and customers love live-streaming sales because Thais love to see themselves and watch people through cameras and screens.

“There are store owners who do live-streaming sales every single day. Live-streaming sales now is really a new trend of e-commerce in Thailand,” she said.

Story by Yuan Mengchen, Wang Jin and Ren Qian