Singles’ Day shopping bonanza moves beyond China

By Shen Meng Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/9 22:03:39

Illustration: Peter C. Espina/GT

The world's biggest online shopping festival, known as Singles' Day or Double 11, is just around the corner.

The idea for the day was originally created by Chinese netizens on the symbolic date of November 11 (hence Double 11) as a defiant celebration of bachelorhood - a key component being comforting themselves by buying products online. Chinese Internet giant Alibaba Group was the first to capitalize on it by offering special promotions and discounts, and has been steadily racking up ever-increasing sales on the day since 2009.

It has become hard to imagine what the limit might be for online transactions in China. Over the years, the ever-expanding Double 11 shopping carnival has benefited hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers, China's mobile payment sector, the logistics industry, and millions of manufacturers. It is undeniable that against the background of the current sluggish global economy, China's e-commerce sector is not only a new business card for China, but has also become an important factor in the transformation and upgrading of China's real economy.

Considered a borderless world, the Internet has broken the barriers of traditional commerce and trade, drastically reducing costs and connecting both ends of the e-commerce platform - consumers and producers - at the most favorable prices. It offers consumers a broader range of goods and gives producers access to a broader market. People can place orders online and wait at home for their goods to be delivered.

This revolutionary shopping experience reflects the profound changes China's e-commerce business has generated by bringing Chinese products to billions of families. In light of this, Alibaba founder Jack Ma Yun has risen from being one of many tech entrepreneurs to becoming an honored guest for Chinese local governments and even governments around the world, all of them eager to break through development bottlenecks.

Although the development of e-commerce differs in various countries and regions due to different cultural backgrounds, it is indisputable that China's Double 11 festival has become the most important shopping event in the world. Previously, the Double 11 shopping spree only involved Chinese consumers and producers, but with the gradual internationalization of Alibaba, the tremendous potential of Chinese consumers and the increasingly strong appeal of the Double 11 event, the festival has spread to foreign consumers, and overseas producers have also been benefiting in recent years.

Alipay's international payment system and the international logistics services provided by Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba, have offered vital support. A smooth online shopping experience has enabled the influence of the Double 11 festival to enter the world market. An increasing number of consumers attract more producers, and more producers also attract more consumers. Moreover, as the creator and the biggest beneficiary of the Double 11 festival, Alibaba has accumulated huge advantages in the event that no other competitors can shake.

Double 11 has gradually evolved from an ordinary promotional activity to a grand gathering of global commerce and trade, and it has also become a worldwide event for direct transactions between producers and consumers. These two sides of the Double 11 transactions may live in different parts of the world, but an array of high-quality goods and a smooth and convenient shopping experience is the best global language for consumers.

During less than a decade since its birth in 2009, the Double 11 festival has transformed into a global event. It started in China, but now belongs to the whole world.

The author is director of Chanson&Co, a boutique investment bank in Beijing.

Posted in: INSIDER'S EYE

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