YouTube will launch its first official shopping channel for live commerce in South Korea on June 30, Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday.
South Korea already has a booming live-streaming commerce business led by tech giant Naver, making it a prime test market for the global heavyweight as the Alphabet-owned company focuses on becoming more “shoppable”.
The new channel will operate in Korean language and will start as a 90-day project. In the beginning, it will provide a live-commerce platform to companies and plans to livestream shopping content from about 30 brands, Yonhap and other Korean media said, citing people familiar with the matter.
It is YouTube’s first official shopping channel in any country, Yonhap said.
YouTube Korea did not have an immediate comment.
With YouTube’s ad revenue affected by advertisers curtailing spending and competition from platforms like TikTok, Google’s Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler said in February there was “lots of potential in making it easier for people to shop from the creators, brands and content they love”.
Shares in Naver fell 4 percent on Wednesday morning, while retailer Lotte Shopping fell 3.3 percent, versus the wider market’s 0.5 percent drop.
South Korea’s live commerce market is projected to grow to KRW 10 trillion (roughly Rs. 63,151 crore) this year from KRW 2.8 trillion (roughly Rs. 17,766 crore) in 2021, with Naver currently holding about 60 percent market share, according to Kyobo Securities.
© Thomson Reuters 2023