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China Focus: Online Shopping Bonanza Breaks Records
Source: news.xinhuanet.com
Source Date: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: China
Created: Nov 20, 2012

HANGZHOU, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- More than two billion yuan was spent in the first 70 minutes of a 24-hour shopping bonanza at China's largest business-to-customer online purchase website on Sunday.

More than 10 million people swarmed to Taobao.com, for its 24-hour 50-percent-off carnival because of "Single's Day." November 11 (11/11)represents four single people.

The sale has been initiated by the e-commerce company Alibaba Group with Taobao.com and Tmall.com, based in Hangzhou, capital of eastern Zhejiang Province.

As of 11:18 a.m. Sunday, trade volume reached 7.9 billion yuan (1.265 billion U.S. dollars), exceeding the 5.2 billion yuan in the 24 hours on Nov. 11 last year.

Volume reached 10 billion yuan as of 1:38 p.m., which was the target for the 24 hours. It was realized 10 hours in advance, according to the company's statistics.

The sales carnival is also testing the banking system and express delivery systems.

Wu Liying, a bank employee in Hangzhou worked overnight to avoid any collapse of the banking system.

"It's been too hustle and bustle," Wu told Xinhua. "The scale has exceeded the daily volume, which has brought great challenges to our system."

Payment channels at some banks appeared to falter, just as they did last year on the same day.

Although the Alipay.com, payment platform of Alibaba Group connecting the website to banks, has had a project team in place since August, the online system of China Construction Bank broke down for a while due.

Systems of the Bank of China and Industrial Bank were alerted as being too busy.

According to the China Construction Bank, transaction flow exceeded six times than usual during night hours. The system failed from 1:15 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. in branches in Sichuan Province and Beijing.

The event has also triggered a busy day for logistics industries.

"I can only slept two hours at night. Some online shops needed to start deliveries at 3 a.m.," said Wang Yunda, a courier of Shentong Express in Hangzhou.

Last year, 20 million packages were delivered with some customers having to wait three months for their goods.

Other e-commerce companies, including 360buy.com, suning.com and dangdang.com have joined in marketing on the same day to form a real tide sweeping the whole Internet purchase, said Lu Zhenwang, observer of e-commerce.

Consumer habits have been changing in the country and new online space emerged in the world's largest market with the largest population, Lu said.

The number of netizens reached 538 million in June while the popularity rate is only 39.3 percent in China, according to the latest statistics of China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

"The rate is 70 percent in western countries, which indicates China's large potential for online purchasing," said Jing Linbo, researcher of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Although exports continued to improve in October it was only described as a "slight improvement" by Chen Deming, minister of commerce.

"China's economy cannot only count on exports, which is still hard to predict, while investment is influenced by policies and macroeconomic environment. Thus, domestic demand carries more expectation to stimulate China's economy," Jing said.

"Online purchases shows the potential of China," he said.

The report of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) raised a new goal to double people's income by 2020 from 2010. This requires the Party to not only stimulate domestic demand but also balance supply and demand, said Huang Hao, associate professor of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"The online purchase platform shows great consuming capacity, which offers a channel to balance supply and demand as some commodities were transferred from traditional sellers," Huang said.

Some companies transferred their storage from downtown department stores to e-commerce depots right before Single's Day, which created a new way to decrease the storage of traditional retailers, he said.

"The large social collaboration triggered by e-commerce marketing pushes the limits of each one in the chain. More peaks will come to be both tests and chances," said Zhang Yong, president of Tmall.com.

Ma Yun, board chairman of Alibaba Group, which runs Taobao.com, said that e-commerce is complementary to advanced traditional retailer in the U.S.

"However, China's infrastructures and traditional retail industry is not perfect enough, which gives e-commerce a chance to become mainstream to stimulate domestic demand, while logistics and other supporting facilities can improve and match up," Ma told Xinhua.
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