Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s (NYSE: BABA) claimed Monday to save consumers $7 billion, kicking off its Singles' Day sales after JD.com Inc. (Nasdaq: JD)’s early sales.
The 11.11 Festival or Singles' Day Sales, answering to American Cyber Monday, was created in 2009 by Daniel Zhang, the chief executive officer of China’s top e-commerce giant Alibaba. It’s known as a shopping festival originally popularized as a day for China's singles to buy gifts for themselves, traditionally takes place on November 11.
Fan Jiang, the e-commerce head of Alibaba, said Monday that the company expected that more than 500 million customers will participate in the 11.11 Festival via mobile devices in the press conference of its official kickoff. That means an increase of 100 million participants from the corresponding day one year ago, and one out of every three Chinese people will join the shopping festival, according to various Chinese news.
The e-commerce leader said the promotion activities will save consumers at least 50 billion yuan($7 billion) in the press conference. It’s rival JD.com started an early kickoff of its shopping festival last Friday and launched discounting shopping platform Jingxi, targeting small and medium-sized cities in China.
Alibaba reinforced its overseas business unit after acquiring online luxury retailer Kaola from NetEase inc. (Nasdaq: NTES) for $2 billion in September. The company said Monday it covered more than 78 countries and regions with 22,000 overseas brands, keeping the addition of new international brands with 300% year-over-year growth.
"Tmall International has grown to be the largest import platform in China," Peng Liu, general manager of Tmall Import and Export Group, said at a conference in September. Liu also said the target consumers of Tmall International are China's youth born after the 90s, which make up 55 percent of all purchasers and have a "strong demand for diversified import lifestyles."
Last year on Singles' Day, Alibaba's Tmall hit record gross merchandise volume of 213.5 billion yuan ($30.5 billion), representing an increase of 27% year-over-year. Meanwhile, JD.com sold goods worth 159.8 billion yuan ($22.5 billion), up 25.7%, according to public reports. Pinduoduo reported threefold orders.
JD.com has been fighting Alibaba in court for alleged violation of fair competition.
Shares in Alibaba closed on Monday at $173.52 per American depositary share up 2.6%, and JD.com's stock price soared 3.68%, closing at $31.03 per ADS. Pinduoduo Inc. (Nasdaq: PDD), a new rival in 2019, saw its stock jump 1.86% at $34 per ADS.