YouTube has announced it will be launching its first official shopping channel in South Korea for live-commerce – ramping up efforts to make the Alphabet-owned video giant more “shoppable”.

The official channel will be hosted entirely in Korean and will initially operate as a 90-day trial run. 

Launching on June 30, the channel will provide a platform for around 30 brands, according to South Korean media. 

A Youtube spokesperson said: “We may experiment with a variety of YouTube Shopping features from time to time.”

Live shopping, or live-stream shopping, is a huge part of both the South Korean and Chinese e-commerce experience – and YouTube is hoping to capture a slice of the market.

Online interactive shopping experiences reportedly totalled $480bn in China last year, according to eMarketer. 

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Live shopping refers to the act of merging online shopping and livestream entertainment – gone are the days of late-night TV channels attempting to sell wonder mops.

“It [live-commerce] presents an opportunity to have that slicker, all in one experience,” Daniel Greiller, chief commercial officer at plug-and-play financial services platform Weavr, previously told Verdict.

The move into South Korean live-commerce comes as YouTube continues to be hurt by tighter purse strings of advertisers. 

In April, Alphabet reported a YouTube ad revenue fall of 2.6% year-over-year. The streaming giant totalled $6.69bn in revenue through advertising for the first quarter of 2023, down from $6.87bn during the same period the year prior, TechCrunch reported. 

The move to live-shopping also comes as YouTube continues to battle against competitors like short-video platform TikTok. The Chinese-owned company topped the list for global consumer spend last year and placed fifth in active users – while YouTube didn’t make the top ten.

In February, Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, said he saw lots of potential “in making it easier for people to shop from the creators, brands and content they love”.

YouTube’s dedicated South Korean shopping platform launches on June 30.

GlobalData is the parent company of Verdict and its sister publications.