Amazon gears up for Singles' Day

3 November 2014

BEIJING: As China prepares for the shopping bonanza that is Singles' Day on November 11, Amazon is planning to compete with Alibaba, the US retailer's Chinese ecommerce rival, by offering global shipping direct to consumers.

According to Amazon China, Chinese shoppers will be able to choose from around 80m items on six overseas platforms that Amazon has opened up.

Drawing on its extensive global network, these platforms are based in the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. The company has also built 13 fulfilment centres to deliver to 3,000 cities across China, IGD Retail Analysis reported.

Four customer service centres have been established in the country and it hopes a new logistics and warehouse centre in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone will give it price advantages and help to shorten delivery times.

What may prove to be of particular appeal for Chinese consumers is Amazon's claim that express orders can be delivered within three days once cleared by customs.

With Chinese consumers frequently expressing concern about product safety and quality, the option of choosing from an international retailer could generate interest.

"China is one of Amazon's markets with the most potential, and we will continue to bring our superior global resources to bear in China," Niu Yinghua, vp of Amazon China, told Tech in Asia.

Singles' Day is the biggest annual sales event in the world. Last year, Alibaba sold a record 35bn yuan ($5.7bn) in just 24 hours and this year it is aiming for sales of 50bn yuan ($8.2bn) on the day.

The event is so-named because November 11 resembles four single people and it had humble beginnings when students from Nanjing University conceived the idea as a joke in the early 1990s.

Data sourced from IGD Retail Analysis, Tech in Asia; additional content by Warc staff