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China launches consumer frenzy on the Internet for the “Day of the Singles”

Ⓒ AFP – – – | An electronic screen shows the amount of money spent by consumers throughout China on the occasion of the Singles Day, this Saturday November 11 at a shopping mall in Shanghai

The Chinese launched on Saturday a consumer fever for the so-called “Day of the Singles”, a special day with large discounts on the purchase of all kinds of products.

At midnight in China (16h GMT Friday), Internet users rushed to take advantage of the sales on the occasion of this trade fair launched in 2009 by Alibaba, the national giant of digital commerce, which several other platforms imitated.

The “Solteros’ Day” is for Alibaba and its competitors the opportunity to massively increase their sales with important promotions.

Around 0900 GMT on Saturday, Alibaba said it had registered 20.6 billion dollars of exchanges since midnight on its Alipay electronic payment system.

This huge figure, equivalent to the annual GDP of Honduras or a third of that of Luxembourg, is higher than the record of 17,800 million recorded last year for the entire day of sales, which had already marked a jump of 32% over the previous year.

Almost 93% of the exchanges registered in the main platform of Alibaba were made via cell phone, an apparatus that has more than 600 million Chinese people. The Chinese giant had invited the American singer Pharrell Williams for the gala launch ceremony.

The number two of the sector,, claimed to have surpassed the 100 billion yuan in purchases (15,000 million dollars) in less than eight hours.

This day of sales is considered a key barometer to evaluate the evolution of the sector. No segment is left out of the rebates, from electronics to breast milk, but also rice, clothing, furniture or cosmetics, among others.

Alibaba, which does not sell itself the products proposed on its platforms by individuals or companies, takes advantage of the boom of online commerce in China. In the third quarter, its turnover soared 61%.

For Cheng Huaibao, 28, owner of a bunk bed factory in Jiangsu (east), “Singles Day” represents one-sixth of his annual commissions. The location where the plant is installed is one of the 1,300 “Taobao towns”, name of the main online sales platform in China, which lives from the explosion of digital commerce.

“For the occasion we grant numerous discounts, and we have almost no benefits,” he told AFP, noting however that he is “happy to participate”.

Of the 140,000 brands proposed in promotion by Alibaba, some 60,000 are foreign: a higher proportion than in other editions whose aim is to seduce an increasingly important middle class.

But the frenzy consumerist encouraged by Alibaba is denounced by environmental organizations that believe that generates more emissions than physical premises.

For Nie Li, Greenpeace activist, the “Singles Day” is “an ecological disaster” that in 2016 generated 130,000 tons of packaging of which only 10% were recycled.

Alibaba, which dominates 55% of the Chinese market of exchanges between companies and individuals mainly on the Internet, encourages digital commerce.

But in the face of fierce competition, the mastodon created by billionaire Jack Ma, invests massively in artificial intelligence, in more efficient algorithms, in data collection and in increasingly close interactions with physical stores.

The idea is to follow more closely the sales trends of the businesses in exchange for advising them about the products, the management of reservations in several sites and making some of the business platforms to withdraw the packages.

Alibaba also does not hide its ambition to strengthen its international presence, particularly in Southeast Asia, where it already controls the Lazada platform and where it launched an ambitious logistics center in Malaysia.

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