China's national shopping spree off to strong start

By Ma Jingjing Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/1 17:58:40

Foreign companies welcome to China’s huge consumer market


Tmall’s black cat mascot poses besides a Maserati SUV Levante 350HP at Alibaba Group Holding’s headquarters in Hangzhou, capital of East China’s Zhejiang Province. Maserati was showing off the car to promote the opening of its flagship store on Tmall, Alibaba’s online shopping site. The first 100 vehicles put up for sale on the store sold out in 18 seconds. Photo: CFP

China's first nationwide shopping spree after the COVID-19 endemic got off to a strong start Monday, reflecting a gradual revival of consumer confidence amid brighter economic prospects.

As one of the most popular methods, livestreaming on Alibaba-backed generated transactions valued at 2 billion yuan ($281 million) within the first 90 minutes on the first day of the "618" shopping festival, which lasts until June 20, according to a press release Alibaba sent to the Global Times.

The company said it will invite 600 entrepreneurs to give livestreaming presentations during the shopping spree, including Dong Mingzhu, chairwoman of Chinese home appliance giant Gree Electric Appliances, which operates more than 30,000 brick-and-mortar stores across the country.

As Apple struggles to reopen some of its stores in the US amid the global coronavirus pandemic and violent protests, its performance during the largest mid-year shopping festival in China is in the spotlight.

Sales of iPhones on Alibaba-backed Tmall exceeded 500 million yuan ($70.3 million) within five hours Monday - a record for iPhone on the platform and equivalent to a day's sales in China, said Alibaba.

Another e-commerce platform also had a better-than-expected performance on the first day of the shopping festival, with sales of luxury products skyrocketing 400 percent year-on-year in the first hour, and sales of cosmetics surged 500 percent.

A 20-something white-collar worker in Beijing surnamed Liu spent about 10,000 yuan on an iPhone, clothes and other daily necessities on, her largest spending spree since the COVID-19 outbreak. "As most Chinese cities have come out of lockdown, I believe that more consumers want to spend after a long period of staying inside," she told the Global Times.

Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, told the Global Times that online shopping will be a highlight of China's economic growth this year. He predicted the sector will grow at least 20 percent in the second quarter.

With the online economy shrugging off concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce is set to grow. The number of packages handled in May in East China's Zhejiang Province reached a new record high. Data from the State Post Bureau showed that the number of packages sent to and from the province stood at 1.68 billion, up 52.5 percent year-on-year.

Wei Jianguo, former Chinese vice commerce minister, told the Global Times that China is expected to exceed the US to become the largest consumption market this year. "Domestic retail sales are expected to reach 45 trillion yuan in 2020, up 8 percent year-on-year, with new types of consumption and services consumption predicted to be robust," he said.

Increased consumer confidence benefits not only China's economy but the global economy as a whole.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in Beijing Thursday that China is a huge market and all the measures that the Chinese government has introduced will provide relief to businesses, spur consumption and energize the market. "We hope that people will remain optimistic about investing in the big market of China," he said.

US supermarket giant Costco announced in February that it would open its second China store in Shanghai's Pudong New Area. Construction of Walmart's members-only warehouse chain - Sam's Club - began in Shanghai on May 28. The facility is scheduled to open in 2021, reflecting Chinese market's attractiveness despite escalating diplomatic and trade tensions between the two countries.

Newspaper headline: National shopping spree off to strong start


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