BY SILVI WRITER
China’s “Double 11”, named after November 11, is set to attract more foreign consumers, as the online shopping festival “invented” by Alibaba has risen from obscurity the world’s biggest online extravaganza in less than ten years of time, the Global Times reported on Sunday.
This year, there will be rising participation by overseas merchants and consumers to mark the event’s 10th anniversary, according to Alibaba Group Holding, the Chinese tech giant funded by business magnate Jack Ma.
Consumers in Russia, the biggest overseas market of AliExpress, will see more than 50 local brands participate in the festival. El Corte Inglés, the largest Spanish chain grocery store, will also take part through AliExpress, offering goods in 3,000 categories and designating more than 2,000 physical pick-up sites for consumers.
“It’s turned into the ‘business Olympic Games’,” said Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang, who initiated the event in 2009. “The ‘Double 11’ event has become the biggest festival for merchants and consumers in China and across the world.”
In a statement Alibaba sent to the Global Times on Sunday, the company said it is pulling together its entire retail ecosystem in China and overseas for this year’s event. For example, AliExpress, Lazada, and Daraz – three of Alibaba’s overseas subsidiaries – will all participate.
The online shopping festival has gain wide international attention in recent years. Last year its gala, held in Shanghai, attracted celebrities and entertainers from in China and abroad, including actresses Nicole Kidman and Zhang Ziyi, actor-singer Kris Wu, Kazakh singer Dimash Kudaibergen, etc.
With just three weeks left before the big day this year, Chinese merchants on the platform are already in full swing with their preparations.
“Cross-border e-commerce merchants like me have to grab this kind of opportunity to expand our overseas markets,” a cross-border e-commerce businessperson surnamed Xia said.
“We don’t make much profit during the festival because of the platform’s price limits, but it’s a good chance for us to expand our markets, which we can benefit from in the future,” he noted.
Alibaba showed off its global ambitions for this year’s event as it kicked off the festival at the China National Convention Center in Beijing on Friday.
Zhang Zhouping, director of the Cross-border E-commerce Department of the E-commerce Research Center based in Hangzhou, capital of East China’s Zhejiang province and home to Alibaba, said that globalization is a major trend.
“Alibaba’s new pledge to consumers across the world is upgrading,” Zhang said. “This includes the convenience of overseas payments, delivery and tourism, rather than just offering goods.”
The event’s global profile has risen, Zhang said, as more and more consumers across the world join the shopping carnival.
Supportive government policies, the improving environment for the industry’s development and the needs of vast markets overseas are providing great opportunities for China’s cross-border e-commerce business to seek growth, analysts said.
But they cautioned that there is still a long way to go for Alibaba to reshape global consumption patterns.