Tag Archives: Alibaba

China’s Singles’ Day Breaks Records Again

In the United States online consumers let loose on Cyber Monday; and in China shoppers

An illustration for the Chinese e-commerce holiday Singles’ Day. Courtesy Chrionexfleckeri1350.

run wild on what is known there as “Singles’ Day.” This year Singles’ Day saw online shoppers shell out over $14 billion within only the first two hours of commencement, flying past last year’s record of $25 billion in sales for the entire 24 hours.

Singles’ Day began ten years ago as a bit of a joke when unmarried students honored  choose November 11, the eleventh day of the eleventh month, or also known as “Double 11” day to celebrate their own single status. The ad hoc holiday was co-opted by retailers, creating a day of online buying and sales.

China’s own version of Twitter, Weibo, was swarming wit

h posts about Singles’ Day; some saying how proud they were to have resisted the temptation to make a purchase, while others bragged about the great deals they got.

Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, the platform where the crazy commerce took place, said that Singles Day is “not a day of discounts, but rather a day of gratitude. Speaking in a video which was shown at the start of the party celebrating the event he added, “It’s when retailers use the best products and best prices to show their gratitude to our consumers.”

Not everyone agrees that Singles’ Day is a day of gratitude. One economics professor, Hong Tao of Beijing Technology and Business University, said that the event encourages consumers to prefer cheap prices over high quality, causing them to buy things they definitely do not need.

“People are swept up in the festivities,” Hong said in a phone interview. “This burst of consumption, confined to just one day, can be exhausting for both buyers and sellers.”

There is also a negative environmental impact to all the unneeded buying. Although Alibaba and its close competitor JD.com have both promised to use packaging that is recyclable, research done by Greenpeace East Asia said much of the plastic that is marked as biodegradable and used by Chinese online sellers, really needs extremely high temperatures in order to fully break down. Those recycling facilities are scattered across China, and in small numbers. Greenpeace said that they are forecasting that within just two years this so-called “biodegradable” packaging might account for about 721 truckloads of garbage produced every single day in China.

Amazon to Extend Its Loan Program to Sellers

Beginning later this year Amazon will extend its business loan program to sellers in eight additional countries where credit can make a huge difference in that company’s success. Amazon, the giant on-line retail platform, has had a business loan program for small sellers in just two countries, Japan and the United States. Known as Amazon Lending, this program was launched in 2012 and is run as an invite-only lending program not available to all Amazon sellers.

The new countries which will become part of this unique program are Canada, China, Germany, France, Italy, India, the United Kingdom and Spain. Amazon loans are geared to helping small sellers better compete for new vendors and taking more market share.

Amazon is not alone in introducing loan programs: eBay’s PayPal and Alibaba Group Holdings are also extending credit to help boost their vendor base. Some analysts have voiced skepticism about these trends, saying that retailers do not properly assess the credit market in which the sellers are operating and therefore could be taking on too much risk. In countries like China and India small businesses have high rates of failure.

Amazon said that risk is not a problem for them since they offer loans based on internal data and also because they take loan payments directly from the profits from sales that it pays their sellers.

What Does Alibaba’s Entrance on the NYSE Mean for US Businesses?

Good News for Small Business? Wait and See
Good News for Small Business? Wait and See

Investors can celebrate now that the Chinese enormous e-commerce business Alibaba has brought billions to several mega-wealthy players. Friday’s IPO of Alibaba reaped a wildly huge amount of money for its owner and founder Jack Ma to the tune of $18 billion. Several other well-placed personages, including Japan’s richest man, Masayoshi Son woke up on Saturday quite a bit richer. And the US-based Yahoo also saw a nice profit from its stake in Alibaba. What about the little guy? How have smaller US businesses been impacted by this historic Wall Street event?

Jack Ma says Alibaba’s success will bring success to regular businessmen.

“At Alibaba, we fight for the little guy, the small businessmen and women and their customers,” CEO Jack Ma said. “Our proposition is simple: we want to help small businesses grow by solving their problems through Internet technology.”

Is this really true? CEO Michael Tudor of Ripen eCommerce, a consulting firm for online retailers, agrees with Ma. Tudor says that Alibaba will help businesses “establish themselves in the Chinese market.”