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China's 'Double 11' online shopping day reverberates beyond borders

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-12 16:15

BEIJING - China's largest online shopping day that falls on Nov 11 has evolved into one with global impact, providing foreign companies with an alternative to access the enormous Chinese market and consumers outside China with quality products at lower prices.

In Japan, many local businesses including Yahoo Japan, FamilyMart and Softbank have started to put on sale on Nov 11 to coincide with the Chinese "Double 11" event, during which millions of Chinese shoppers spend large sums online for home appliances, clothing, luxury goods, among others.

Leading Thai skincare brand Snailwhite and SPA chain operator Thann opened their flagship stores on Tmall, one of Alibaba's business-to-consumer online platforms.

Li Jin, manager of Snailwhite's Tmall store, said the brand participated in last year's "Double 11" promotion activities and recorded a sales performance far exceeding traditional store sales.

"We have chosen 36 products this year for the Nov 11 promotion this year and expect even better results than last year," he said.

In Australia, local dealers are increasingly recognizing the vast business potential from the annual Chinese online shopping frenzy.

Beef suppliers, dairy producers and wool manufacturers are rushing to set up online stores targeting Chinese customers.

Prime Fresh, a Sydney-based supplier of beef cuts, said its sales surged at least 50 percent in recent weeks thanks to promotion activities for Nov 11, also known as the Singles' Day in China.

Paul Greenberg, CEO of Australia's National Online Retailers Association, told Xinhua that compared with large-scale retail promotions in Western countries, China's Singles' Day features a new sales mode (online rather than in brick-and-mortar store), better logistics and payment solutions. "All these are unique contributions to the global business by China's e-commerce sector," he said.

British chain supermarket operator Waitrose, in partnership with a Chinese marketing and logistics company, started exporting to China in April, selling through the Royal Mail shop on Tmall, said The Guardian.

"Singles Day is a big occasion for consumers and businesses in China and has the potential to give the products we offer more exposure and provide another opportunity to test demand for our brand," Nigel Roberts, a Waitrose manager, was quoted as saying.

On the consumer side, the massive promotions by Chinese e-commerce operators at around Nov 11 have also offered overseas shoppers strong incentives to spend.

Chicago resident Matthew Eisenberg told Xinhua that he has never missed "Double 11" since he knew about it.

Still paying his student loan, the data analyst lives frugally and Chinese online shopping sites help make his life much more comfortable.

Items he often buys online include Chinese digital products and Vietnamese coffee beans. Compared with similar products selling in the United States, they are of good quality with lower prices, he said.

Apart from the price factor, Chinese online shops appeal to overseas consumers because of their detail-oriented services and payment policies.

"When you are browsing the page of a shirt, the system will alert you that the Chinese size is different from the Brazilian one and you could communicate directly with a shop assistant," said Philipe Lima, a 31-year-old software engineer in Rio de Janeiro.

"My personal experience also shows the payment system is very secure," he told Xinhua.

La Nacion, a prestigious Argentine newspapers, has just reported that 80 percent of the packages delivered by the Argentine Postal Service are from China, an indicator of booming e-commerce between the two countries.

Jorge Castro, director of the Institute of Strategic Planning in Buenos Aires, noted that the Nov 11 shopping day are attracting a growing number of Argentine customers.

Thanks to e-commerce platforms, Argentine customers are able to buy across the globe while Argentine businessmen are selling products like red shrimps and cod to the rest of the world, all online. "It is exactly a win-win feast," Castro commented.

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