a group of people on a stage in front of a building: Alibaba Hosts Singles' Day Event Countdown Gala© Bloomberg
Alibaba Hosts Singles’ Day Occasion Countdown Gala

The Red Tea Detox

(Bloomberg) — As Jack Ma prepares to step down as chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., he does so after the net gross sales promotion he has championed for a decade notched one other document.


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In it’s 10th iteration, the annual Singles’ Day occasion on Nov. 11 notched 213.5 billion yuan ($30.7 billion) in merchandise gross sales, a rise of 27 p.c, based on a tally posted on the occasion’s media middle in Shanghai. The ultimate quantity compares with 39 p.c development final 12 months.

Jack Ma is pictured on a display throughout Singles’ Day.

Ma will hand the chairman’s position to Chief Govt Officer Daniel Zhang subsequent 12 months, passing alongside one in every of China’s highest profile company roles at a time when the nation is embroiled in a commerce spat with the U.S. Issues concerning the affect of these tensions on a slowing economic system have contributed to a 16 p.c stoop in Alibaba’s share worth this 12 months.

“I believe numerous traders get it incorrect,” Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai mentioned on Sunday. “No. 1 China just isn’t as dangerous as folks assume, No. 2 Alibaba has some distinctive elements, we’re actually using that cyclical pattern, and whenever you discuss digitizing the economic system, Alibaba is uniquely positioned with expertise and knowhow.” 

Tsai, a co-founder of the corporate, mentioned he has no plans to observe Ma into retirement and can proceed to take care of funding technique with a group of greater than 100 folks.

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A Look Again at Singles’ Day: How Shopathon Has Grown Since 2009

This 12 months’s Singles’ Day continued the pattern of lavish showcases to drum up curiosity. The Hangzhou-based firm used a televised leisure spectacle that includes Cirque du Soleil and Mariah Carey and mentioned a few of its top-selling merchandise got here from Xiaomi Corp., Apple Inc. and Dyson Ltd. Massive ticket objects, equivalent to flat-screen TVs and fridges, confirmed weaker development this 12 months, attainable reflecting the slowing Chinese language property market, Tsai mentioned.

Singles’ Day hasn’t all the time been about purchasing and has its origins as an unofficial vacation on Chinese language college campuses within the 1990s. The date, when written numerically as 11/11, appears to be like just like the Chinese language expression for “naked branches,” a time period to explain the unattached in a nation that emphasizes relationships.

It was Ma and Zhang who latched onto the thought of turning it right into a client occasion, getting a lift from China’s increasing center class and a large on-line inhabitants.

a sign lit up at night: Alibaba Hosts Singles' Day Event Countdown Gala© Bloomberg
Alibaba Hosts Singles’ Day Occasion Countdown Gala

Alibaba logged 10 billion yuan in gross sales within the opening minutes of the annual Singles’ Day occasion in Shanghai, Nov. 11.

This 12 months’s occasion stood out from the 9 that got here earlier than it for a number of key causes.

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Ma’s announcement in September that he would step down marked it because the final with him as chairman. One other is that it comes amid the commerce dispute, providing essential perception into the affect on client spending on the planet’s second-largest economic system. A 3rd issue is that Alibaba is going through among the stiffest competitors in its historical past. Pinduoduo Inc., which is backed by archrival Tencent Holdings Ltd., and different smaller platforms are gaining traction with customers and different firms have latched on to creating Nov. 11 a key promotional occasion with reductions on the day.

How Singles’ Day Grew to become Largest Procuring Spree Ever: QuickTake

To keep up its edge, Alibaba has invested closely in conventional shops, equivalent to its Hema supermarkets, and expanded in different on-line companies, equivalent to meals supply. It’s additionally made some key steps abroad, together with taking management of Lazada to carry Southeast Asian customers in on the Singles’ Day shopfest. Within the first hour of this 12 months’s occasion, the highest nations promoting to China have been Japan, the U.S. and South Korea, and the most well-liked objects bought abroad have been clothes, wool coats, pants and hoodies.

“Alibaba is making use of all of its platforms to make Singles’ Day a vacation that additionally consists of eating and leisure,” Jet Jing, president of Tmall, one of many firm’s important websites, mentioned on the Singles’ Day occasion. “We’re connecting on-line purchasing with offline bodily retailers.”

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a group of people performing on stage in front of a crowd: Alibaba Hosts Singles' Day Event Countdown Gala© Bloomberg
Alibaba Hosts Singles’ Day Occasion Countdown Gala

Members of the media work throughout Alibaba’s annual November 11 Singles’ Day on-line purchasing occasion, Nov. 10

With Ma set to exit, it will likely be as much as Zhang to show he can keep on the chairman’s legacy, together with fulfilling a purpose of making a world firm that will get half of its gross sales from abroad.

“For positive yearly the quantity is getting larger and greater, and individuals are all the time asking Daniel what’s the ceiling of this and might you continue to develop so quick,” Zhang mentioned. “However I say in the present day for those who take a look at the standard on-line piece, the net piece is simply 20 p.c of complete consumption. However once we begin with the brand new retail, it enormously helps us prolong the whole addressable market.”

Learn extra: Alibaba Preaches Warning as Indicators Emerge of U.S-China Commerce Deal

–With help from Lulu Yilun Chen.

To contact Bloomberg Information workers for this story: Robert Fenner in Hong Kong at [email protected]

To contact the editors liable for this story: Robert Fenner at [email protected], Edwin Chan

For extra articles like this, please go to us at bloomberg.com

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.


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