Sitting in front of an iPad with a lineup of herbal sore-throat remedies behind him, Ryuta Fujii, president of pharmaceutical company Ryukakusan Co., is listening to Chinese customers' questions over a livestream.

From Ryukakusan's headquarters in Tokyo, Fujii broadcasts his "live e-commerce" production, picking up products and explaining details about them, with everything simultaneously interpreted into Chinese by colleagues seated next to him.

He responds directly to questions from viewers who can immediately purchase products they desire with a click on his store hosted by a platform owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which also provides the livestream service.