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Overseas retailers get in on Double 12 action

By He Wei in Shanghai | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-12-15 11:41

For the first time, Alibaba's Double 12 shopping festival this year was localized to target domestic consumers in foreign nations.

The event used to target mainly Chinese consumers. Many foreigners are unable to use Alipay, a prerequisite of the promotions, because they need to have a China bank account in order to use the payment application.

This year, residents in countries and regions such as Thailand, India, the Philippines and Hong Kong were eligible to enjoy similar perks when using local payment services instead of Alipay to purchase products.

Alipay HK, the Alipay Hong Kong joint venture with conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings, partnered with more than 8,000 brick-and-mortar stores in the city to offer exclusive gifts, discounts and rewards. In addition, vendors at the Po Tat Market in the city's Kwun Tong district offered groceries for just HK$1 (13 cents) on Dec 12.

"Rolling out electronic payment is a small step in improving hygiene at wet markets," said Hong Kong Market's chief executive Jackie Ling. "It also promotes the merger of lifestyles between people from Hong Kong and the mainland."

Overseas retailers get in on Double 12 action

Lazada Group, a major online shopping site in Southeast Asia that Alibaba owns a majority stake, also extended Double 12 promotions to its customers. It kicked off the event with a televised gala that was tied to deals and flash sales.

"In short, we call it 'glocalization'," said Douglas Feagin, president of international business at Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba.

"This concept is about developing Alipay globally, while also developing localized service offerings."

According to Alibaba, 100,000 merchants in foreign countries, including the Printemps shopping malls in France, Bonjour cosmetics shops in Hong Kong and convenience stores in Germany, offered discounts to Alipay users this year.

"Dec 12 is more than a festival for the Chinese. It belongs to us all," said Helen Rotella, finance manager at Awpl, Australia's leading retail solutions provider in the travel sector.

Rotella said that stores affiliated to the group also hired Chinese guides and tailored their offerings to attract Chinese consumers.

During last year's Double 12 campaign, customers of Chinese descent in France emerged as the top spenders with an average expenditure of 26,000 yuan ($3,760) per person.

There were also big Chinese spenders in London, with the largest single purchase of 158,000 yuan coming from a Harrods department store. The average expenditure per customer in the UK was 11,000 yuan.

(China Daily USA 12/15/2017 page11)

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