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E-commerce Boom Highlights Robust China Consumption
 

The record sales at major Chinese e-commerce sites on November 11 offer an insight into the robust domestic demand in the world's second-largest economy.

November 11 has become an online shopping spree since 2009 when Alibaba's Tmall made its first online sales promotion. And now it is on par with "Black Friday," when most U.S. retailers online or offline offer promotions.

November 11 is known in China as Singles' Day because the date, 11-11, resembles four "bare sticks," a term used in China to refer to single people.

The world's biggest online shopping spree is a barometer of consumer behavior. It has attracted shoppers from around the world looking for bargains and multinational corporations seeking sales.

Trade at Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce platform, reached 168.3 billion yuan ($25.4 billion) on Saturday's shopping promotion.

Alipay, Alibaba's mobile payment platform, handled 1.48 billion payments from around the world, 41 percent more than last year.

A total of 812 million orders were generated in the 24 hours, up 23 percent.

More than 140,000 overseas brands participated, with 206 countries and regions involved in. Customers came from 225 countries.

JD.com, who started promotions at the beginning of this month, reported 127.1 billion yuan of orders. Kaola.com posted a 300 percent annual growth in sales on Saturday.

"From 52 million yuan in 2009 to 168.3 billion yuan this year, we have witnessed a rapidly growing domestic demand in the nine years," said Zhang Yong, CEO of Alibaba.

Zhang said the shopping spree on November 11 is just an epitome of the potential of China's consumption power.

China's strong domestic demand has brought opportunities for global sellers.

Nick Mann, sales director of the Australian health products brand Swisse, said Swisse sales doubled in each of the past four years.

With rising living standards, more Chinese consumers are buying quality non-daily necessities and the consumption habit is also driving the Chinese manufacturers to upgrade their products, said Zhang.

"The November 11 shopping spree is a commercial miracle even for the world," said Chen Qin, a programmer at Alibaba.

Many e-commerce sites have used AI and big data to predict consumers' shopping habits, prepare inventories of goods and help cope with the surge in orders. This could help reduce logistics costs and deliver goods to consumers earlier than usual, Chen said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 12, 2017)

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