Alibaba smashes record on Singles’ Day with €7.5bn sales

E-commerce giant looks to listing Alipay payments unit in China

An electronic board shows the November 11th Singles’ Day sales figure of more than 57.1-billion yuan (€7.4 billion) generated by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group shopping sites. Photograph: EPA

An electronic board shows the November 11th Singles’ Day sales figure of more than 57.1-billion yuan (€7.4 billion) generated by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group shopping sites. Photograph: EPA

 

It’s an understatement to say that Alibaba is a cunning marketeer. The company has invented a version of Valentine’s Day on which single people, especially men, are encouraged to spend money on themselves, using Alibaba platforms.

A record-breaking 57.1 billion yuan (€7.46 billion) flowed through the freshly listed e-commerce giant on November 11th as waves of China’s young and affluent snapped up bargain electronic and leisure goods.

It’s similar to the post-Christmas sales in Ireland or “Black Friday” in the United States, and Alibaba started marketing it in 2009. “Double 11” is now a copyrighted term. Some 27,000 sellers take part, although many complain the price-cutting is too aggressive and isn’t worth it.

One company, LeTV, a Chinese Android television set maker that sells smart TVs, gave Asia Briefing a breakdown of how sales went on the day. The company sold 39,000 smart TVs for sales of nearly 159 million yuan (€21 million), and 30,000 of those were sold in the first 19 minutes. Of those sales, 40 per cent of the orders were made by mobile phone.

Founder and executive chairman Jack Ma was at home in Hangzhou on his company’s huge campus, standing in front of a large screen that logged the real-time figures on a giant screen.

He has barely paused since his company’s record-breaking share listing on September 19th valued the company at an estimated €20 billion with a market value of roughly €185 billion.

He said the group’s Alipay online payments system would “definitely go public” and he hoped it would happen in mainland China. In the year to the end of June, Alipay settled 4.825 trillion yuan (€630 billion) in transactions.

The company’s executive vice-chairman Joe Tsai said Alibaba would look to list the entire Ant Financial Services Group, of which Alipay is a unit, on mainland stock exchanges at a future date.

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