In China, rockets are being sold via live stream. Here’s how

Initially dismissed as an April Fools’ Day joke, millions hooked up to the live stream after Taobao, which is owned by Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, announced on its Twitter-like Weibo account: “This is for real”.
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(@TheChinaHustler/Twitter)
Updated on Apr 03, 2020 03:31 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Beijing | BySutirtho Patranobis

China’s largest online retail platforms, Taobao, sold rockets via a live stream for some $5.6 million each on Wednesday night.

Initially dismissed as an April Fools’ Day joke, millions hooked up to the live stream after Taobao, which is owned by Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, announced on its Twitter-like Weibo account: “This is for real”.

According to local media reports, Taobao live streamer Viya, who has 18 million followers, started to sell the KZ-1 rocket launch service for about 40 million yuan on Wednesday evening.

“Five rockets ‘on the shelf’ were sold out in seconds with a five-million yuan discount,” national broadcaster, CGTN said in a report on Thursday.

“China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) joined Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce platform, and successfully sold out its Kuaizhou-1A or KZ-1A carrier rocket,” the report said.

“KZ-1A is a low-cost solid-fuel carrier rocket with high reliability and a short preparation period. The rocket, developed by a company under CASIC is mainly used to launch low-orbit microsatellites,” the report said.

The Wuhan-based company, ExPace, makes the rockets

.An official from CASIC explained in the livestream that rockets cannot be sold separately.

“It is the launch services being sold here. Anything can be launched theoretically, but it needs administrative approval from the relevant state departments,” the marketing chief said.

The package includes the rocket launch, tailor-made rocket body painting, and a visit to the launch site.

Established in 2016, the KZ rocket company has carried out eight commercial rocket launches until now.

The official was quoted as having said that the company hopes to introduce innovation in its marketing strategies to work with other companies, attracting more people to their products and services.

A digital media company that tracks technology in China and southeast Asia, KrASIA reported that, according to e-commerce giant Alibaba, within five minutes of the live streaming beginning, the online event had attracted more than 800 potential buyers who paid a refundable down payment of RMB 500,000 ($70,385) each.

“The bid winner was Chang Guang Satellite Technology, a Jilin-based commercial remote sensing satellite company, which initiated further conversations with ExPace after the sale, Alibaba added, without disclosing further details,” the portal reported.

For Taobao, the idea to sell rockets online appeared to be part of a well deliberated strategy.

The company initiated a poll on March 27, asking its users to choose which service or object they wanted most.

The available choices: rockets, satellites, a partner or a cleaning lady. Rockets won.

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Monday, May 23, 2022