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E-commerce giant Alibaba on Saturday kicked off its ninth edition of the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, its annual sales event. Held on China's Singles' Day, which falls on November 11, Alibaba Group Holding Limited's shopping extravaganza is among the largest shopping events in the world.
First introduced in 2009, the 11.11 shopping festival, featuring a 24-hour online shopping promotion on Alibaba's major platforms, has fast-grown into a landmark celebration on a global scale.
"This year, a series of live entertainment events including Tmall's See Now Buy Now Fashion Show along with other live streaming and interactive activities will bring together millions of people around the world to jointly celebrate a global shopping festival of the year. A countdown gala to the fest was also held on Friday night at the Mercedes Benz-Arena here with the company's Executive Chairman and founder Jack Ma and other top officials present.
Alibaba's 11.11 has grown beyond an annual online shopping bonanza to become a key driving force in transforming the lifestyle of Chinese consumers today through modern technologies.
As per the company, over 140,000 brands are participating in this year's 11.11, offering promotions for more than 15 million product listings. More than 60,000 international brands will be available to the more than half a billion consumers visiting Alibaba's platforms. Some of the participating brands in this year's fest include Adidas, Bose, L'Oreal, Mac, Nike, Siemens, Unilever among others.
With attractive promotions and offers the online event is the most anticipated one in the world.
For this year's festival, Alibaba has employed a "new retail" strategy to bring together the online and offline shopping experiences.
The company has converted about 100,000 retail stores to "smart stores", which will allow consumers to receive tailored shopping experience with the use of facial recognition, "cloud shelf" and location-based store and discount recommendations among others.
Alibaba has also introduced Hema Stores, wherein consumers can walk into the offline store and scan each of the products present in the store through their mobile phones to know more information about it.
Logistics network Cainiao is expected to employ over three million logistics personnel to deliver over one billion packages brought during the shopping fest. Alibaba's logistics partners would also launch chartered flight delivery services from over 10 countries in North America, Europe, and Asia to expand the company's global reach.
In any case, Alibaba.com has risen to become the largest e-commerce platforms in the world.
Besides, the Chinese e-commerce giant has now revealed that about $12 billion worth goods have been sold within two hours of the launch of its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.
"Nearly $11.9 billion worth of total Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) (sales in dollar value of goods sold over a certain period) was generated within the first two hours of the shopping festival," Alibaba Group Holdings Limited said in a statement.