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12 November 2017, 02:00 | Lowell Little
Malaysians gear up for Alibaba's Singles Day shopping frenzy
Alibaba has also organised a line-up of worldwide celebrities to perform in a four-hour-long entertainment show in Shanghai on Friday evening, both on live television and through the internet, to kick off the event.
"This is a big event for China, for the Chinese economy", Mr Joseph Tsai, Alibaba's co-founder and vice-chairman, said. Last year, sales on Alibaba's platforms totaled over 120.7 billion yuan, a record for the company. Last year, online sales sold over $3 billion.
Not all are enthusiastic about the massive consumer orgy, however, with environmentalists accusing Alibaba of promoting a culture of over-consumption that creates mountains of waste.
The yearly display of rising Chinese consumer spending power has become a key date for manufacturers and retailers in the country, accounting for a significant share of annual orders for many businesses.
More than half of China's 1.3 billion people use smartphones, which have become central to daily life, used for messaging, shopping, news and entertainment, ordering taxis and meals, and serving as digital wallets for a range of point-of-sale purchases.
"At 12:07am, the number of payment transactions processed by Alipay surpassed 100 million, equivalent to the total number of payment transactions processed during 2012", it said. Zhang Jingjing, a 30-year-old clerk for an engineering company, prepared for Singles Day by building a shopping list on Alibaba's retail platform Tmall and watching for when prices dip.
Alibaba ( BABA ) racked up another huge take from its "11.11 Global Shopping Festival", but JD.com ( JD ) also enjoyed a sales windfall.
Singles's Day far out ranks the entire Black Friday Weekend in terms of sales, past year Single's Day sales were triple the combined total from Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
It already has a substantial stake in Lazada, an online retailer in Southeast Asia - a hot e-commerce battleground - and recently launched an electronic trading hub in Malaysia, its first outside China.
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