MObviously unaware of President Trump’s anti-Chinese rants, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, two of America’s biggest song stars, paid in person to promote the world’s biggest business event, Singles Day. This year, the gala was online, followed by millions of Chinese people across the country. With his American stars and national glories, such as singer Viya Huang, he launched this shopping fair on Tuesday, November 10, imagined by the Internet giant Alibaba and which has been taking place for ten years every November 11. Fond of numerology, the Chinese call it “11.11”. This is the culmination of what Alibaba calls “shoppertainment”, a mix of shopping and entertainment (entertainment).
But the numbers that matter are those that fit into Alibaba’s coffers. In 2019, he broke his record by recording nearly 34 billion euros in sales in a single day. This year, despite the pandemic and the gloomy climate, the firm has doubled the stake with 64 billion euros in gross revenue. By comparison, that far exceeds the combined online sales of the US Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday holidays, the top-grossing events for Amazon. Normal, China is by far the paradise of online commerce. It now represents 30% of retail sales against 20% in the United States and 10% in France. Almost 750 million Chinese have an account with Alibaba, twice the American population.
It therefore turns out that the pandemic, far from neutralizing the buying frenzy of Xi Jinping’s compatriots, has on the contrary increased it tenfold. Deprived of traveling abroad, they flocked to luxury brands, particularly American (Apple) or European (L’Oréal).
But, despite Katy Perry’s vocals, the atmosphere was heavier in this second week of November 2020. Not only because of the aggressiveness of the American administration, but also because of the unprecedented attack by the authorities in Beijing against its own champions.
After blocking in extremis the IPO of Ant, the financial subsidiary of Alibaba, the government published a very critical document on the business practices of the latter and its competitor Tencent. These private mastodons, with stratospheric market capitalizations, are accused of abusing their monopoly to the detriment of thousands of SMEs and small businesses in the country, in particular by demanding exclusivity clauses. After America and Europe, China is also embarking on the adventure of regulating competition on the Internet.