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Global sales fuel Alibaba growth

2014-11-12 09:04 Global Times Web Editor: Wang Fan
Graphics: GT

Graphics: GT

The annual online shopping frenzy on Tuesday, which helped Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd rake in record sales of at least $9.3 billion this year occurred beyond the Chinese mainland, as overseas sellers entered the market to tap the potential of the mainland consumers' growing purchasing power.

Sales of heavily-discounted goods, usually by as much as 50 percent, started midnight Tuesday, which is dubbed "Double 11" or "Singles' Day," for the 6th consecutive year.

"This year [the shopping event] is to prepare the company for its comprehensive globalization after three to five years," said Jack Ma, the company's founder.

He noted that the company needs four more years to fulfill its goal.

Data from Alibaba showed before Tuesday noon, about $5.29 billion worth of goods were sold on the company's business-to-customer tmall.com, which the company said is equivalent to the online sales of US 2013's Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.

The sales event on Tuesday is Alibaba's first Singles' Day shopping festival after the company was listed on the US stock market in September. Shares of the New York-listed e-commerce giant closed at $119.15 Monday, a rise of 4.01 percent.

After years of development, the sales event this year highlighted the global trend and signaled an important step for Alibaba towards its avowed goal of going global during its US IPO roadshow.

Ma said that Alibaba planned to expand business into the US and Europe.

According to Alibaba, consumers from over 220 countries and regions can enjoy the shopping festival via the company's e-commerce platforms this year.

Online buyers in the Chinese mainland also can purchase discounted goods offered by 5,400 overseas brands from 25 countries and regions.

It did not reveal the data for either global sales or global purchases, but data from a large LED display at its headquarters indicated that Hong Kong is the top destination outside the Chinese mainland for Alibaba's online goods during the event, followed by Hong Kong, Russia, the US, Chinese Taipei, and Australia as of press time.

"In order to offer a rapid overseas delivery for Chinese consumers, overseas retailers on tmall.com accepted pre-orders," Zhang Yong, the COO of Alibaba, said, noting that some goods have already been stored in Alibaba's logistics center or under customs clearance.

Alibaba set up a Tmall international unit in February.

Wu Qian, the general manager of Alibaba's online to offline business, told reporters Tuesday that one of the reasons for the move is that the company gradually found there is a growing demand in the mainland for overseas goods.

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