By CCTV correspondent Zhang Tao
China's online retailers are gearing up for what has become the country’s annual online shopping festival on November 11th.
November 11 is a date made up of four one’s, and “double eleven” has always been considered a special day for single men and women in China. Five years ago the internet retailer Alibaba began promoting it as a shopping festival, and it has now turned to be the country’s busiest day for online retailers, millions of shopping lovers and thousands of couriers.
JD.com is trying to attract more third-party vendors by offering them free delivery service for a month. Alibaba itself has for the first time invited some 30,000 offline stores to participate in the online shopping spree. More than 20,000 vendors on Alibaba’s sites - Tmall and Taobao – are promising 50 percent discounts on the day. Shanghai based Yhd.com, also called Yihaodian, a Chinese e-commerce company that is majority-owned by WalMart Stores, is setting up a special sale of imported foods.
Huang Zhixiong, the vice president of Yhd.com, says, “Imported food and other goods are important sectors for us. We’re expanding warehousing and preparing staff; we are ready. We’ve made special investments for the November promotion.”
Last year Alibaba generated 19.1 billion yuan in sales during the double eleven promotions, double the revenue generated by the US’ Cyber Monday event. The volume of orders at times overwhelmed the nation’s courier companies and delayed deliveries. Alibaba set up a 100 billion yuan logistics network this May that aims to make 24-hour domestic deliveries possible. Couriers across China are gearing up for the upcoming online shopping frenzy. According to Alibaba, more than 100 cargo jets have been leased by major courier companies.
Last year major logistics player Shentong shipped more than 8 million items during “double eleven.” Shentong has more than 150,000 staff, and expects things to be even busier this year.
Yang Jinghai, Director Of Human Resources of Shentong Express, says, “We have hired 30 percent more staff for double eleven, and we have workers’ bonuses ready.”
Lu Shaodong, also from Shentong Express, has worked in the logistics industry for more than a decade and says that two weeks from now even the boss will be working on sorting and deliveries. He says, “We are training new staff to prepare for double eleven. Our shipping volume will be up ten times.”
According to Bain consultancy, on double eleven China’s e-commerce sites receive more visits than the entire population of Brazil. Bain forecasts that China will overtake the US as the world’s top e-commerce market this year.