Tag Archives: China

China’s Singles Day Sales Tops $14.3B


It was another record-shattering shopping day in China on 11.11 when sales on Singles Day in China topped $14.3 billion.  What appears to be the Super Bowl of shopping, Singles Day holiday growth is credited to ecommerce giant Alibaba who had more than 10,000 international brands registered to participate this year. This is a huge increase; in 2009, there were only 27 merchants participating. While there were numerous global brands participating (i.e., Uniqlo, Adidas, Nike, Costco, Walmart, Amazon), the biggest winners were undoubtedly the Chinese brands.

New this year was a 3-1/2 hour television variety show that kept shoppers glued to their chairs and involved home shoppers even more deeply in the event. Seen as a combination of the Grammys, Oscars, game shows, home shopping network, and New Year’s Eve, sales reached $5.5 billion in the first 90 minutes, and surpassed $9.3 billion at the 12-hour mark.

Singles Day began decades ago as Bachelors Day, a Chinese holiday where single men shopped and partied to hold their blues at bay. In 2009, Alibaba put its might behind the day and turned it into a manufactured shopping holiday in China, going so far as to trademark the 11/11 name.

The next step – delivering 310 million packages!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the growing importance of Singles Day in China. Discuss the implications for U.S. companies.
  2. Show videos about Singles Day and Alibaba:





  1. Also, show Alibaba, Taobao, and Tmall Web sites. (There are translators for the sites.)
  2. Discuss the growth of mobile devices for shopping. What are the implications for companies?
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team select an ecommerce site and develop and outline for how the site can be effective on mobile devices.

Source: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, CNBC. Brandchannel.com, Ad Age Daily, other news sources

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What is Alibaba?


Alibaba may be largest consumer name in the world, but for consumers outside of China, few people know exactly what the company is and does. And, add the names of Tmall, Taobao, and AliExpress and non-Chinese consumers may be even more confused about the company. For those who are new to Alibaba, here is a quick list of key components and subsidiaries.

  • Alibaba Group: Founded by Jack Ma in 1989 as an ecommerce site, the company now includes multiple components including shopping, cloud computing, music, entertainment and more.
  • Alibaba.com: Large B2B platform used for the large manufacturing and production capabilities of China.
  • Taobao.com: Consumer-to-consumer shopping site offering more than 750 million products (similar to eBay). A majority of its revenue is from selling advertising to retailers hoping to be noticed by shoppers. Beware of counterfeit goods.
  • Tmall.com: Launched in 2008 as a business-to-consumer site, it has now grown to be a competitor of Taobao.com and became an independent e-commerce company in 2011. Tmall.com has brand ‘storefronts’ enabling companies to reach hundreds of millions of consumers (similar to Amazon). For example, Tesla automobiles are sold exclusively on Tmall.com.
  • 11main.com: This is Alibaba’s U.S.-based shopping platform, aiming to be a Tmall.com for America.
  • Alipay: An 11-year old financial powerhouse that processes $700 billion a year (half of China’s online payments) and has 300 million users. Alipay is global and is courting international users and partners such as Walmart.There is more to Alibaba than the above companies, and since it is now a public company, watch for it to further expansion in the coming years.
  • Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
  1. Ask students if they have heard of Alibaba, and what they might know about the company.
  2. Show a video about Alibaba: http://www.nytimes.com/video/business/international/100000002865514/what-is-alibaba.html
  3. Divide students into teams and have team research the company for 10 minutes.
  4. Have each team brief the class about key points learned.
  5. Next, have each team develop a marketing plan to using Alibaba to reach the Chinese market.

Source: Brandchannel.com, other news sources

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Biggest Shopping Day of the Year in China – Nov. 11


Are you ready for the biggest shopping day of the year? No – it’s not Black Friday in the U.S. The biggest shopping day of the year in on November 11 (Singles Day) in China. The holiday began as a celebration for people who are single, chosen because of the connection between singles and the number ‘1’. November 11 now serves as an occasion for single people to party – and shop.

How big is it? Well, last year it topped $9.3 billion in sales. Last year also marked the entry of many foreign brands entering the frenzy, all vying for a percentage of the sales on Alibaba’s retail platforms – Tmall and Taobao. This year the event is being touted as the biggest online shopping event in the world with more than six million products, 5,000+ international brands, 40,000+ merchants from 25 countries.

Why is it so important for global brands to enter this shopping day? Consider that there are roughly 300 million middle-class shoppers in China, rising to an estimated 500 million in the next 10-15 years.

While Singles Day may have originally started for lonely Chinese consumers, the shopping day now is seen as critical to driving China’s – and the world’s – economy. What will you buy?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Most students will not have previously heard of China’s Single Day. Discuss the shopping holiday and its importance in China.
  2. View a recent video about the 2015 event: https://youtu.be/NbPbcSq91H8
  3. Discuss how this holiday compares to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S.
  4. What products do students expect to be big sellers on Singles Day? Why these products?

Source: Brandchannel.com, other media sources

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