The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The People’s Republic Of Shopping …
November 12, 2015, 6:20 am
Filed under: Brilliant Marketing Ideas In History, China, Culture, ECommerce, Internet

So yesterday I talked about Singles Day.

Well, in the last 24 hours, more than US$13 billion dollars was spent, with almost US$4 billion in the first hour alone and US$1 billion in the first EIGHT MINUTES!!!

Let’s say those numbers again.

US$1 billion in 8 minutes.

US$4 billion in 60 minutes.

US$13 billion in 24 hours.

Look, I know China doesn’t officially celebrate Christmas [though more and more retailers are pushing it, in a bid to make even more money] but that is a bloody enormous amount.

Anyway, I recently came across a buyer guide by Chinese company Alibaba.

Alibaba – founded by the irrepressible Jack Ma – is a phenomenon.

From very humble beginnings as an online retailer, he managed to overcome a skeptical government … set up one of the most amazing delivery infrastructures ever seen anywhere in the World … educate 1.4 billion people about the ease and convenience of online shopping … kick out eBay [which is an interesting story in itself which you can read here] help entrepreneurs throughout China sell to China and the World … make his company bigger than Amazon and eBay combined and end up as one of the richest – and most powerful – men in the World.

Not bad for a business set up in 1999.

Anyway, back to the tutorial.

Over 10 pages, Mr Ma’s company explains how they have an app/business that will make life easier and more enjoyable for you.

Unsurprisingly, it focuses almost exclusively around spending money.

I say unsurprisingly because that’s what Jack Ma’s businesses focus on … mainly because he knows that’s what Chinese society focuses on.

It’s a match made in heaven.

Buying products … buying food … buying holidays … buying materials … buying entertainment … buying with others … if you have the desire to spend, one of Mr Ma’s companies will find something that you will like to buy.

Then he has a bunch of apps/businesses that allows you to pay for what you’ve bought, track what you’ve bought and then tell others what you’ve bought to help kick start their spending mania too.

And if he doesn’t get you with any of that, he’s started a film business so one way or another, you’ll be trading with him.

Mind you, if his movies are anything like the storyline he has created in this ‘buyer guide’, Hollywood doesn’t have too much to worry about quite yet. That said, a friend saw a rough draft of the new Bridget Jones Diary script, and from what he told me, there isn’t that much difference between the two.

As much as the West likes to heap praise on people like Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma is in a different league.

Whether it’s the level of success he has achieved, the inventiveness of the businesses he creates, the way he helps millions of people find their own success or the overall adoration he gets from the general public [because on top of everything else, he’s a huge philanthropist] … Alibaba is proof that China is far more innovative than most give it credit for.

It also explains why most advertising in this market is focused on what it can sell today rather than build for tomorrow, which is why there is an attitude in this country of ‘good enough is good enough’, because the belief is if you hesitate, you lose.

But it will change. It has to. The only issue for debate is when and my guess is Jack Ma will know before the rest of us.

This is why this country is such an amazing place to be.

And mental. Most definitely mental.

20 Comments so far
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That’s almost your monthly paycheck isn’t it?

Comment by DH

Oh it’s a good way off Dave.

Comment by Rob

So this Jack Ma has covered all bases in China and they love him. If one company did that in the West, they’d be a Bond villain.

Comment by DH

mr bond, im going to stop the chinese from buying anything until they agree to pay me 3 times the fucking asking price.

better script idea than the last fucking bond car crash.

Comment by andy@cynic

They’re huge numbers Robert. I heard Nike sold over US$100 million in 24 hours. Happy Nike, happy Nike planner. Your point about Chinese business being focused on selling today, not building for tomorrow is fascinating because even though Jack Ma has an impressive product ecosystem, it also reflects this attitude. Would you say China views speed more importantly than foresight?

Comment by George

I’m guessing they would as my experience there was a focus on leveraging what was popular rather than trying to innovate their own. I am sure this attitude has changed over the years, and Jack Ma’s companies shows that to be the case, but I would bet he is the exception rather than the rule. Amazing company though.

Comment by Pete

Terrible communication though. Bad design and bad cliches.

Comment by Pete

But pretty good sales.

Comment by John

pretty good? you better be being fucking sarcastic or youve reached new depths of bastardness.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m positive I was pointing out that bad communication and design is no obstacle to success.

Comment by John

Yep … 100 million dollars in 24 hours. Amazing eh. And better yet, the global #3 is in town [nicely timed] so he can go away happier than happy. Now that’s planning.

And as for your question, I do think speed still trumps innovation. It’s definitely improved over the years, but the general ethos is ‘why risk doing something new when you can exploit something you know is already successful’.

Comment by Rob

He’s agreed to be an advisor to the PM, so it’s all very positive.

Comment by John

the reason the big brands like it is because it acts as a fucking landfill for all their out of season shit because the daft monkeys forget 0.00001% of people dont give a shit about how in fucking vogue their bollocks is and will snort up a bargain.

Comment by andy@cynic

campbell is the 0.000000000000001% who thinks he does give a fuck about being fashionable but is so fucking deluded that he qualifies as a mental.

Comment by andy@cynic



Comment by Pete

These are incredible numbers. With so many eyes now focused on the days result, Alibaba need to ensure the markets don’t try to equate their health to a single days trading. They shouldn’t need to worry about this, but I have seen many organisations fixate on a single days result rather than the other 364.

Comment by Lee Hill

It’s a bit like the companies who fixate on the share price rather than doing things that will affect the share price.

Short term vs long term.

Or said another way, democracy vs communism. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Yes, but Jack Ma himself has been quoted as calling it ‘a thermometer on China’s economy’.

Comment by Ian Gee

Yeah … but that’s also to big up his importance to the Government, the markets and the population.

Comment by Rob

I like Jack Ma. A smart operator in all the right ways and in all the right places.

Comment by Lee Hill

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