Alibaba said Monday award-winning producer and songwriter Pharrell Williams will attend this year’s 11.11 Countdown Gala Celebration.
The composer and singer of 2013’s chart-topping single “Happy,” the “A-list” international star has been associated with acts from Jay-Z and Daft Punk to Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake, performing with or writing hit songs for them as well. His work has extended into Hollywood, where he composed the soundtracks for Despicable Me and its sequel, for which “Happy” was written, and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. He also served as a judge on NBC’s The Voice.
The third annual countdown gala, a Chinese-style variety show that runs in the hours leading up to the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival’s midnight launch, is slated for Nov. 10 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.
The gala has set itself apart from other variety shows, however, by engaging viewers in real time via their mobile phones. Last year, viewers won clothing worn by the stars and collected “red packets,” a traditional Chinese way of giving away money, all via their smartphones while they watched.
“Our pre-sale gala has become immensely influential in China, with cutting-edge interactive technology at the heart at the heart of the event,” said Hong Ying, general manager at Alifish, the licensing and entertainment business unit of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. “We want to seamlessly connect shopping with entertainment.”
Alibaba has a number of surprise guests slated to appear at the gala, but so far only Williams as well as Chinese celebrities such as Karen Mok, Zhang Ziyi and pianist Lang Lang have been announced.
In addition to his participation in the Gala, Pharrell’s G-Star denim brand will also take part in Alibaba’s Tmall Collection 2017 fashion show, which airs Oct. 31. G-Star will launch his custom-designed patchwork jeans exclusively for the “See Now, Buy Now” event.
WATCH: It’s all about high fashion in Shanghai – fashion for the masses – at Tmall’s “See Now, Buy Now” runway show.