For the last six years, Alibaba Group hasmonitored the progress ofits giant 24-hour online sale, the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, from a “war room” atthe company headquarters inHangzhou, China.This year, the company is spreading the excitement around by moving theeventtothe mainland’s beating heart of Beijing – and adding astar-studded gala to be televised from the city’siconic Water Cube onthe eve of the Nov. 11 sale.
“Beijing is the capital city, it has the greatest influence on China and the world,” explained Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang, who announced the move at the kick-off ceremony of the 2015 11.11 Global Shopping Festival last week in Hangzhou.Alibaba this year plans to draw more international merchants and shoppers to the event as part of a strategy to build up the e-commerce titan’s global business.
Beijing, a megacity of 20 million people, is a business hub and hothouse for tech and e-commerce companies. Holding the eventthere will help showcaseAlibaba’s strengthsto the world. “Beijing will be a good start and focal point for our long journey of globalization,” Zhang said. Alibaba has also been investing to bolster its Beijing operations in areas such as online grocery and consumer electonics sales,planning to use the city as a foundation to build up e-commerce in northern China, where penetration and support infrastructure is less developed than it is in the country’s southeastern provinces.Alibabasays it hopes to bring a better e-shopping experiencetosome 400 million customers in northern China.
In addition, on the eve of the sale,the companyishostinga four-hour countdowngala in China’s National Aquatics Center, known as the Water Cube, where the Beijing 2008 Olympics swimmingcompetitions took place.The gala will bestaged bynoted Chinese film director Feng Xiaogang and televised by Hunan TV, andcan be viewed on TVs,PCs and mobile devices.
Thegalawill featureinternationalstars, singing and dancing, interactive games and mobile shopping to warm up shoppers for 11.11. During live broadcast, viewers canqualify for discounts on items such asoverseas travel packages and smart home appliancesby shaking smartphones equipped with Taobao or Tmall apps. Alibaba is inviting shoppers around the country to attend the event by giving away tickets throughTmall’s Weibo pageand theTmall app starting in late October.
More than 40,000 merchants and 30,000 brands, including some 5,000 international brands from 25 countries and regions, will participate in 11.11 Global Shopping Festival this year, offering six million products,according to Alibaba.
(Readers in China can watch videos of the 11.11 event by clicking here.)