Double 11 shows rising clout of China’s consumers

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/12 21:33:39

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

"The biggest shopping day on the planet has started with a bang," CNN said at 00:52 am Beijing Time on Sunday. In one hour and 47 minutes and 26 seconds, Tmall, the online retail marketplace under Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, saw its sales surpass 100 billion yuan ($14.38 billion), setting a new record for the 10th Double 11 shopping festival.

Another record worthy of note is that more than 19,000 overseas brands from 75 countries and regions participated in the shopping bonanza, making the Double 11 a shopping carnival for both Chinese consumers and global businesses.

According to the latest data, Alibaba racked up 213.5 billion yuan for the entire-day sales. The rapid flow of the huge amount of capital through the internet is shaping an extraordinary consumption pattern. To base China's consumption on the traditional principles of economics seems to fall behind the reality brought by the digital economy and the impact of Double 11.

Double 11 offers an important window for observing the Chinese economy. Considering China's unique national conditions, the improvement of the internet, transportation and logistics, as well as the development of the manufacturing industry, the interaction among these elements happens in a streamlined fashion. With a few clicks of the computer mouse or by touching a smartphone screen, several days later, consumers in Beijing can receive products from a factory 2,000 kilometers away in South China's Guangdong Province or even a US-made product from tens of thousands miles away. When thousands of consumers purchased the products through such methods, there was an exponential expansion of shopping payments and the scale of Chinese consumers.

At present, the overall scale of China's e-commerce economy has reached 27 trillion yuan. The new generation of the Chinese consumers are both creators and participants in the internet economy. They are not only producers and sellers, but also buyers. Even the thousands of couriers, while accelerating the online shopping process, have become a new consumer group.

The economic principle that a consumption upgrade drives the national economy may not change, but the motivations that drive consumption have unfolded increasingly with Chinese characteristics. Any research fellow or research institute that intends to make an accurate assessment of China's economic prospects should not overlook the country's unique economic development revealed by Double 11.

In recent days, the role imports play in the Chinese economy's sustainable development has attracted much attention from home and abroad. This is mainly because an economic power should not only be a manufacturing power, but should also be a consuming power. China has the most complete manufacturing sector in the world, making it the first pillar of an economic powerhouse. Now it needs to boost the second pillar, namely, the consumption pillar.

Making consumption a carnival requires the accumulation as well as the upgrading and transformation of the Chinese economy, which is more relevant with China's consumer groups and their consumption preference. The products that consumers snapped up during the shopping festival involve a wide range of sectors such as healthcare, tourism and education, which directly represent the living standards of the Chinese people. After four decades of reform and opening-up, China's accumulated economic strength is transforming into the impetus for a more affluent and better life of the people. In the era of globalization, the standard of living and buying power in a large economy often have a major impact on the bilateral relationships, as well as the global economic, trade and financial relations between themselves and other countries.

There has been a growing awareness among Chinese people that the reason why the US dares to make outrageous demands in the China-US trade friction is because it has a strong purchasing power and it is the biggest buyer of China-made goods. What Americans buy or don't buy, buy more or less, will not only be of importance to the global economy, but will also affect global politics and diplomacy.

By upgrading China's consumption power, the voice of China as the world's largest developing country will be enhanced in global economic governance. Global trade will thus tend to develop toward multi-polarity and then will come the changes in Sino-US relations. The US will benefit from the Chinese consumption to gain more jobs and more benefits, while China will have more ability to shape the Sino-US relations due to the balanced trade.

The Chinese economy can only be good when the world economy is good. The world can only be better when the Chinese economy is good. China produces what the world's consumers need and the world produces what the Chinese consumers need. The change points to a greater boost China is now giving to the global economy.

This is an editorial of the Global Times Monday.


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