Posts tagged with "Alibaba"

How China’s ‘Singles’ Day’ became biggest shopping event ever

November 5, 2018

Singles’ Day, celebrated on November 11, is now the world’s biggest online shopping event—so much so that a countdown clock on the website shows the days, hours, minutes and seconds until shoppers in China and worldwide can claim their discounts (some of them, up to 95%) from a variety of retailers.

In less than a decade since Singles Day was first celebrated in China in 2009, Alibaba Group Holding has turned a quirky celebration for unmarried young adults into a global extravaganza drawing in thousands of retailers and hundreds of millions of shoppers of all ages—hitched or otherwise, according to a November 1 report by Bloomberg.

Just how big is this shoppers’ holiday? More than twice as much merchandise is sold over the 24-hour period as during the entire five-day U.S. holiday-buying spree that begins on Thanksgiving, runs through Black Friday and ends on Cyber Monday. Every year has exceeded the one before, with last year’s sales climbing 39% to 168.2 billion yuan ($24.2 billion). That’s on par with the gross domestic product of some smaller European nations. Most of the buying was via Taobao and Tmall, Alibaba’s main shopping sites.

This year, the shopping experience has spread to other e-commerce operators and will include more brick-and-mortar stores than ever before, the organizers claim. But Bloomberg says there is one, big unknown: To what extent, if any, the brewing U.S.-China trade war will cut into Singles’ Day sales.

It remains to be seen whether a depressed Chinese stock market and higher import tariffs resulting from U.S.-China trade tensions will curb consumers’ enthusiasm. On the other hand, Alibaba has significantly boosted the brick-and-mortar element of Singles’ Day by accelerating its investments in malls, convenience stores and food delivery services — part of what it calls its “new retail” initiative.

Essentially, Bloomberg reports, any transaction made via payment service Alipay will count. The initiative involves equipping traditional retailers with new technology to manage inventory and to serve as distribution centers for online shoppers, as well as connecting mom-and-pop stores to its platform. There are also 200,000 so-called smart stores that seek to combine the online and offline retail experience

While the Chinese mainland continues to dominate sales, according to the Bloomberg report, Alibaba continues to make it more global. That means getting foreign brands involved in selling to the Chinese. It’s also working to promote its English-language websites.

Research contact: @luluyilun

Now you see it … Alibaba’s Jack Ma rescinds promise to create 1 million U.S. jobs

September 21, 2018

Chinese technology tycoon Jack Ma is recanting on his pledge to create one million U.S. jobs—citing the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies as his rationale, according to a September 20 report by The Wall Street Journal.

The executive chairman of Alibaba has been reevaluating his professional goals recently, having announced earlier this month that he would step down from his leadership position at the e-commerce company he founded in 1999 and hand over the reins to current CEO Daniel Zhang within the next year. .

Ma made the pledge, the Journal said, when he met with then-President-elect Trump in January 2017—saying  that the China-U.S. relationship should be “more friendly,” and that the jobs would be created by supporting more sales by America’s  small businesses on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms.

In an interview with China’s state news agency Xinhua published on September 19, Ma said his commitment was contingent on good relations between the two nations.

“The current situation has already destroyed the original premise and there’s no way we could meet it,” he said, according to the Journal. “Trade is not a weapon. It can’t be used for war. It should be used as a tool to promote peace.”

In recent months, Mr. Ma has become increasingly critical of the Trump administration’s trade-related moves against China. When contacted by The Wall Street Journal, an Alibaba spokesperson declined to comment beyond Ma’s remarks to Xinhua.

Research contact: yoko.kubota@wsj.com

Big media and technology companies bankroll a $1 billion small-screen TV venture

August 8, 2018

Disney, Alibaba and NBCUniversal are participating in a $1 billion financing round for a new video streaming service—led by ex-Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman and ex-Walt Disney Studios Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg; and designed specifically for mobile viewing, CNBC reported on August 6.

The product, dubbed NewTV for now, will “access the best talent and intellectual property for this next era in entertainment,” Katzenberg, who will be chairman and founder of the initiative, said in a statement.

Katzenberg and his investors—which also include Fox, Viacom, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, and MGM— are banking on an untapped audience that craves high-quality content designed for smartphones and tablets.

Variety revealed this week that NewTV is aiming to launch by the end of 2019, with a premium lineup of original, short-form series comprising episodes of 10 minutes each. The service will have two subscription tiers: an advertising-free plan and an “advertising-light” option (a la Hulu), according to Whitman. Each series will cost between $5 million  and $6 million per hour to produce.

“With NewTV, we’ll give consumers a user-friendly platform, built for mobile, that delivers the best stories, created by the world’s top talent, allowing users to make the most of every moment of their day,” said Whitman, NewTV’s CEO, in a formal company statement on August 7.

NewTV’s platform is owned by Katzenberg’s holding company WndrCo.

More than half of all video viewing is now happening on mobile, and most of those views come from phones, not tablets, according to a study by : That’s video platform provider Ooyala.

Research contact: howard@wavekilo.com