Tmall’s “Double 11” sales festival targets overseas buyers

Mochou Lee

Alibaba’s premium e-commerce venture, Tmall, opens an overseas office in addition to promoting its “Double 11” shopping festival, or Singles Day event, one month prior to its official kick off.

The company launched its annual “Double 11” festival back in Nov. 11 2009 and advertises it as a means of attracting the millions of young single Chinese, who could perhaps ease some of their loneliness by shopping. The super sales event however also attracts millions of average Chinese buyers. Last year the festival claimed RMB 57.1 billion ( USD 8.9 billion) in revenue within one day, almost half of Alibaba’s yearly revenue.

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Zhang Yong, CEO of Alibaba, announced several new strategies this year to promote the “Double 11” festival including making Beijing the base for promotions, launching a TV commercial campaign and opening foreign offices to promote Tmall globally.

“Double 11” festival promotion initiatives for this year will include:

  • Beijing
    Alibaba announced it has set up another headquarters for Tmall in Beijing in addition to its main base in Hangzhou. It recognizes Beijing as China’s capital with greater influence nationwide and around the globe.
  • TV commercial campaigns
    Alibaba will cooperate with popular provincial TV station, Hunan TV, to launch a “Tmall Double 11 Night” gala on November 10. The show will last four hours and Alibaba aims to bring onboard famous film director, Feng Xiaogang as show director.
  • Globalization
    The core strategy for the festival this year is to make it globalized, which Alibaba hopes to encourage with two distinct initiatives: “Global buying” – with Chinese customers buying foreign goods, and “global sales” – attracting foreign buyers of Chinese goods. The “global sales” initiative will mainly target customers from Russia, Spain, England, France and Israel offering them 50 million different products from 5000 Chinese manufacturers.

Michael Evans, President of Alibaba, said that the company will launch news branches in Germany, France and Italy over the next several months.

“This strategy is to meet demand from Chinese customers who want better products and a better quality of life, ” said Zhang.

“Chinese customers will not need to go abroad to buy foreign products. When they open the Taobao or Tmall app, they’ll find what they want at even lower prices.”

Alibaba has also launched other promotions including the ability to send virtual “red envelopes” (Chinese gift envelopes filled with cash) with cash and coupons for customers. Ant Financial, a financial service platform affiliated with Alibaba, will prepare red envelopes for customers, worth a total of RMB 50 million.

Alibaba is not alone in promoting its e-commerce platform abroad. Rival Beijing-based e-commerce giant,, set up an office in Silicon Valley on Tuesday. In April, JD launched a platform specialized in the sale of foreign products to Chinese customers.


Mochou Lee is a guest writer at AllChinaTech

Edited by Rohan Malhotra

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