Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. logged 213.5 billion yuan ($30.7 billion) in sales for its annual Singles’ Day extravaganza, setting a record as shoppers swarmed the e-commerce giant’s online bazaars.
China’s largest company, which used a concurrent televised entertainment spectacle featuring Cirque du Soleil and Mariah Carey to further drum up business, reported that Xiaomi Corp., Apple Inc. and Dyson Ltd. products were the top three brands in early sales.
The annual retail celebration, originally dedicated to the nation’s unattached, has become an important bellwether not just for the company, but also the country. This year’s Nov. 11 gala offers a glimpse of consumer sentiment in China as U.S. tensions and a tit-for-tat tariff war depress stock markets and threaten to dampen the world’s No. 2 economy.
Alibaba surpassed the 100 billion yuan mark less than two hours into Singles’ Day, according to Alibaba’s news website.
The challenge for billionaire Jack Ma and his lieutenant Daniel Zhang was to notch another record after a scorching decade-long run. With a cooling economy, saturated markets and competition from smaller platforms such as JD.com Inc. and Pinduoduo Inc., Alibaba is seeking new growth engines.
“Alibaba is making use of all of its platforms to make Singles’ Day a holiday that also includes dining and entertainment,” Jet Jing, president of Tmall, one of the company’s main sites, said at the Singles’ Day event. “We’re connecting online shopping with offline physical outlets.”
Singles’ Day was the brainchild of co-founder Ma and Zhang, who came up with the idea of turning the counter-cultural holiday into a shopfest a decade ago….