China’s Singles Day is an annual frenzy of online consumerism that ranks as one of the wonders of the modern commercial world. The 24-hour sale far outstrips Black Friday in the US, on which it was modelled. Last year, Singles Day racked up $17.8bn of sales generating some 467m parcels, more than five times more than US consumers spent on Black Friday.
Daniel Zhang, the chief executive of Alibaba, developed the concept in 2009. He was chief financial officer of Taobao, Alibaba’s online shopping site, when the company was looking to expand into the business-to-consumer market. In Alibaba’s fluid management structure, he took responsibility for the project and launched Tmall, as the B2C business is called, on November 11, or Singles Day.
“We are positioning ourselves as a data company,” he says. “We have half a billion customers with us with shopping intentions and a method to pay. We know who they are, what they want, what they hate.”
This article was originally shared by John Thornhill on September 3, 2017 via Financial Times.