November 11

So, once again Double-11, or Singles Day, has passed in China and Jack Ma and his colleagues at Alibaba have yet again redefined the very standard of spectacular when it comes to online shopping.

Remember that this online extravaganza lasts for only 24 hours when you consider the following facts provided by China Daily.

The Alibaba Group sold $14.33 billion USD in merchandise in 24 hours on its two primary online platforms – C2C platform Taobao and B2C platform Tmall. It beat last year’s sales record in only the first 12 hours.

For the first time ever, mobile sales surpassed PC sales, accounting for almost 70% of the total transaction volume for the day. This is, in part, due to the fact that many employers now block access to Alibaba’s platforms so that their employees will actually get some work done. (The deals change continuously, insuring that the most intent shoppers – such as my wife – literally stay online all day.)

Foreign companies have taken notice. This year more than 5,000 brands from 232 foreign countries and regions participated.

The logistics arm of Alibaba, Cainiao Network, processed 467 million deliveries. … Stop and think about that for a minute. Needless to say, armies of people were working around the clock.

In total, more than 40,000 merchants, representing more than 30,000 brands participated.

The most-watched milestone of success is how long after midnight it takes to reach the first 10 billion yuan in sales. This year it took 12 minutes and 28 seconds, shattering last year’s 38-minute record.

Alipay, Alibaba’s online payment platform, processed 85,900 deals PER SECOND at the height of the activity. That came to 710 million transactions in one day.

One of the most popular categories of merchandise was mobile phones. A total of 313 million were sold in 24 hours.

So what does all of this mean?

Well, the numbers are mind-boggling to be sure. And that is perhaps their greatest significance.

It is, in my humble, but informed, opinion, however, doubtful that anyone other than Alibaba actually makes any money during this extravaganza. In some ways Double-11 represents the enigma that challenges China at its core. It surely is impressive. But is it sustainable?

I wouldn’t bet against them.

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Copyright © 2015 Gary Moreauschools, etc 146

Note:  The views expressed in this post are strictly those of the writer acting in a personal capacity.

You may contact the author at glassmakerinchina@gmail.com