Alibaba’s Singles’ Day By The Numbers: A Record $25 Billion Haul

After 24 hours of swiping on ‘Singles Day’ bargains, Chinese online shoppers once again broke records for e-commerce giant Alibaba. (Photo credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day Shopping Festival is like no other. It’s a combination of commerce, entertainment and an exuberant celebration of consumerism.

Retail as entertainment is one of the hallmarks of Singles Day. A new word, “retail-tainment,” was created just for that. At the gala counting down to the opening of the sale before midnight November 11, a cohort of top celebrities including Nichole Kidman, Pharrell Williams, Chinese movie star Fan Bingbing put on an extravaganza for a cheering audience. Jack Ma, Alibaba’s charismatic founder, also made a surprise appearance as the “retail-tainment-in-chief.”

It’s almost like the Academy Awards, a New Year’s Celebration, and the Superbowl all in one. Continue reading

Helen Wang On Chinese Millennials Using Social Media To Buy Properties Overseas

I was interviewed by CBC News, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, on how Chinese millennials are using social media such as WeChat to buy real estates overseas. See the interview below.

Believe it or not, Chinese millennials have more cash to burn. As I wrote here and here, they do not have student loan debt. And most of them don’t have housing expenses. Most importantly, they are the “One-Child” generation. They grew up privileged, entitled, and wanting to enjoy life.

The Chinese social media sites such as WeChat has integrated payment system. Millennials are very savvy in using social media for all sorts of purchasing, from beauty products to real estate properties.

Apparently, they are also pooling money from family members to buy properties overseas. One reason is that they are hedging against Yuan depreciation. Another reason could be that they feel lack of security under currently system. They want to move money out of the country, and this is another way to do it.

See the original interview on CBC site here.

The Trumps May Bring More Chinese Travelers To The U.S.

Ivanka Trump speaks, as President Trump listens, during a meeting with women small business owners in the White House on March 27, 2017. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

Despite Trump’s anti-China rhetoric during his campaign, more Chinese are choosing the U.S. as their next travel destination.

A survey by Brand USA reveals that the Chinese are the only group indicating that the political climate in the United States under Donald Trump has made them more likely to visit the country than before. This puts them in stark contrast to every other country surveyed, which includes Mexico, Canada, and Australia. Continue reading

The Real Reason Chinese Millennials Are Super Consumers

SuperConsumersEarly in March, more than 4,000 people gathered at “Millennial 20/20 Summit” in New York to discuss power of the millennial generation and how they will affect the future of retail.

Chinese millennials, numbering more than 400 million, are a force to be reckoned with. While many have recognized them as ultra-connected consumers, few have realized that this has been caused by their place in history as the only-child generation. This alone sets them apart from other millennials in a most fundamental way. Continue reading

Chinese Consumers Year In Review: Top Ten Stories

chinese new year2016 has been a turbulent year. From Briexit to the surprising result of the U.S. presidential election, the world is undergoing dramatic changes. In the meantime, another force is rising that will have a far-reaching impact – the rise of China’s middle class. As the year draws to an end, here is a recap of the top 10 stories about the rapidly-changing Chinese consumers in 2016. Continue reading

China’s Millennial Consumers: What Victoria’s Secret Got Wrong, And Nike Got Right

Chinese millennials are a new breed of consumers who will shape the future of commerce. They are very interested in consumption and excited by it. They constantly live-stream fashion shows on their phones and discuss about new trends.

Photo credit: Jing Daily

Photo credit: Jing Daily

Yet, they are also torn between the old and new. They are conflicted between their national pride and their love for western brands. They are struggling to find their own individuality in a collective culture.

At a recent fashion show in Paris, Victoria’s Secret tried to woo Chinese consumers by showcasing dragon-themed lingerie. The supermodel Elsa Hosk appeared on the runway with an elaborate dragon wrapped around on her body, Kendall Jendall wore a pair of phoenix wings made of feather, and Adrian Lima cat-walked in a pair of dragon-embroidered stiletto boots.

But Chinese consumers found these outfits distasteful and tacky. Continue reading

What To Expect From Trump’s China Ambassador

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People on April 15, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Andy Wong – Pool/Getty Images)

One never knows whether President-elect Donald Trump means what he says or says what him means.

After his provocative phone call with Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen and his tweet storms bashing China, many China watchers started to worry that a US-China trade war might be imminent.

But then, he nominated the Iowa governor Terry Branstad as his ambassador to China, a move immediately welcomed by Beijing. Mr. Branstad is considered “a longtime friend of the Chinese people,” and knows the Chinese President Xi Jinping personally.

If approved by the Senate, Mr. Branstad can play a positive role in US-China relations.

First, the Chinese value personal relationships more than anything else. Continue reading

How Alibaba Is Creating the Future of Commerce on 11/11

During the 2015 Tmall 11:11 Global Shopping Festival gala in Beijing on November 11, 2015. (Photo credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Alibaba is counting down to its annual shopping bonanza: the Singles Day shopping festival on November 11. Since it was launched seven years ago, it has become the largest shopping day on the planet. Last year, it generated sales of $14 billion, more than double the total online sales from Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined in the U.S.

This year’s Singles Day will be like no other. Alibaba wants to make it a global phenomenon. It has already kicked-off a series of warming up events including an eight-hour live-streamed “see now buy now” fashion show from Shanghai, where consumers can order anything they see on the catwalk in real time.

But what’s really exciting about the Singles Day is its potential to change the way people shop. Here is a sneak peek at what will happen. Continue reading