NEW YORK -- On Liyia Wu's phone screen, a young woman with cropped hair is trying a black off-the-shoulder dress. She turns around, describing the fit and feel of the dress in Mandarin Chinese, pointing out its embellishments and details.
It is the way one might show off a recent purchase to a close friend -- but this fitting is being broadcast on Alibaba Group Holding's Taobao shopping site, and thousands of people are watching. Those who like the dress can scroll up to purchase it; others type in comments that appear in the bottom corner of the screen. "How do I order this one?" one viewer asks. Another viewer notes, "It looks very pretty on the girl."