GUANGZHOU, CHINA – DECEMBER 06: A banquet is held at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall on day one of the 2017 Fortune Global Forum on December 6, 2017 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province of China. The 2017 Fortune Global Forum is held on Dec 6-8 in Guangzhou. (Photo by Xiao Xiong/Southern Daily/Getty Images)

Last week, I had the honor of participating in the 2017 Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou, China. The event brought together heads of business and government from around the world to actively engage with China and its leaders. The major themes of this year’s conference were openness and innovation, and panel discussion topics included globalization, artificial intelligence, leadership, the future of cities, fintech and manufacturing. Below are selected retail takeaways from the event. FGRT’s full coverage of the conference can be found here.

Alibaba’s “Shopping Can Be Fun” Business Model Can Be Exported to Other Parts of the World

Alibaba has reminded us just how much fun shopping can be. The Chinese company’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, which is held each year on Singles’ Day (November 11), is predicated on fun and entertainment. This year, the festival smashed retail sales records, generating $25 billion in sales in 24 hours. Whereas some might have considered China a “copier” in the past, many Western companies are now following the country’s lead in terms of innovative technologies and business models.

Source: Panelists at Fortune Global Forum, The Next Generation of Ecommerce” Karen Reddington, President, Asia Pacific Division, FedEx, Deborah Weinswig, Managing Director, FGRT

In a panel discussion at the conference titled “The Next Generation of Ecommerce,” business leaders discussed the consumer experience. I proposed that Alibaba’s Singles’ Day shopping festival has helped positively influence how consumers think about shopping. Alibaba adds elements to the event that make participants think about shopping as a fun sport, one that includes gamification, entertainment, music and live events. The company has essentially created an entire holiday and business model with…