Alipay logs record sales on China's Singles' Day

Jon Howard
November 12, 2017

A year ago the shopping holiday drove $18 billion worth of retail sales for participating sellers, a pop-up luxury hub, Double 11 Musée, will appear online and in the Tmall app for high-end brands.

The yearly display of rising Chinese consumer spending power has become crucial for manufacturers and retailers across the country, accounting for a significant share of annual orders for many businesses.

Joe Tsai, co-founder and vice-chairman of Alibaba Group, told 700 reporters from all over the world in Shanghai that a total of 140,000 brands are taking part this year, up 40 per cent from last year.

Singles Day - the frenzied annual celebration of consumption and commerce that is China's much larger version of Black Friday - began as a protest of sorts against Valentine's Day, propelled by college students in the 1990s.

Five minutes after midnight, Alipay was processing 256,000 payment transactions per second, doubling last year's high-water mark, Alibaba said.

Alibaba offers an e-commerce marketplace, while has a more vertical operation like Amazon ( AMZN ). The day of shopping brings in more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined in the US.

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Alibaba and JD stock have both doubled this year as revenues surged. Last year, there were 98,000.

That figure does not include other days of the Singles' Day shopping event.

This loneliest of dates (one-one-one-one), which meant to resemble four solitary sticks, is when China celebrates its Singles' Day.

It already has a substantial stake in Lazada, an online retailer in Southeast Asia - a hot e-commerce battleground - and recently launched an electronic trading hub in Malaysia, its first outside China.

Currently, global purchasers are able to join the festival in China through its delivery arm Aliexpress that enables shoppers around the world to purchase goods from Chinese online merchants. "We will see tens of billions of dollars injected overseas (by Alibaba)", said Mr Li Chengdong, a Beijing-based independent e-commerce analyst.

This year, the world awaits whether it will break records again and reverberate throughout the world's e-commerce landscape.

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