The year seems to be particularly kind to e-commerce stores. Couple that — pun intended — with the recent Singles Day and Chinese e-tailers at least, are very happy. Earlier this month, China’s biggest e-commerce player, Alibaba had announced that merely 20 hours into the Singles Day event and it had managed to top its last year’s sales record of $14.3 billion. According to predictions, this huge income this Singles day wasn’t just a one time phenomenon.
The Alibaba shopping extravaganza started earlier this month, around the globe, on all of its online stores such as Taobao and Tmall.
Within mere 52 seconds of the start of the sale, Alibaba had clocked 1 billion yuan ($146 million) in sales. The next milestone was hit when sales reached 10 billion yuan ($1.46 billion) in just 7 minutes. The company managed to hit $5bn in the first hour itself, as compared to the 90 minutes it took to hit that milestone in 2015. Within 15 odd hours, the company has broken its own record of last year’s $14.3 billion.
According to Bruno Lannes, a partner with global consultancy Bain & Co. this kind of growth is likely to continue in the coming years as well.
It’s such a huge amount already, and the growth will flatten. But the way it is developing is more sophisticated and professional. That’s appealing to Chinese people.
He also added that international transactions, which we saw a lot of during this Singles day, and purchases of services during the shopping spree would continue to boost sales for Alibaba in the coming years. Interestingly enough, over 80 percent of these sales came from mobile — which considering the increasing smartphone usage, is another good indicator for the future.
In case you are unaware of it, Singles day is a festival widely celebrated by the young Chinese in celebration of the fact that they are single and proud. However, with e-commerce portals offering massive sales and discounts, it has become an occasion for people to splurge and shop.
Meanwhile, Alibaba is taking the company to the next level and greatly diversifying its operations. It is also looking to boost its presence in pharmaceuticals after the China Food and Drug Administration decided to end mandatory use of its product identification, authentication and tracking system by drug trading enterprises.
The group is expanding its pharmaceutical e-commerce business after reporting an interim loss in the six months ended September 30. On completing the buy out of licensed online drug retailer Guangzhou Wu Qian Nian Pharmaceutical Chain Company, Alibaba started an online retail pharmacy in the month of August, for over-the-counter drugs.
The revenue increased from 17.19 million yuan to 55.03 million yuan, which is a total of 220 per cent increase.
Alibaba Health chief executive Wang Lei said,
Alibaba Health has developed a new online service called Ma Shang Fang Xin to assist enterprises – including those from the drug, food and nutritional supplement industries – in tracking the full life cycle of their products, which will help fulfil the regulatory compliance needs of those companies.
The company has also taken an initiative to establish a Chinese pharmaceutical online-to-offline alliance with more than 100 traditional pharmacy chains across more than 100 cities of China.
And of course, the company is expanding rapidly in the clouds. It recently announced its plans to open new data centers in international locations that included Europe and Dubai. The group seems eager to enter as many sectors as possible and diversify its offerings while also capturing market share. From the way things appear to be going at present, its strategy is proving to be successful.