HANGZHOU: Single’s Day in China is the largest online shopping day in the world and this year more than 140,000 brands are expected to take part in Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

The Chinese e-commerce giant announced in a statement that its annual sales event will launch on 10th November with a gala in Shanghai, which like last year will be directed by Hollywood producer David Hill.

In the meantime, there will be three weeks of digital marketing activity to build awareness and anticipation of the event, which generated a record $17.8bn of sales in 2016.

More details will follow in a press conference that Alibaba will host on 31st October, but the company gave a taste of what shoppers could expect in November.

“This year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival will further showcase the possibilities for the future of retail by infusing physical retail elements in social media, interactive content, and entertainment in one ecosystem at an unprecedented scale,” its statement read.

Specifically, more than 1,000 brands will convert about 100,000 physical retail locations into “smart stores”, which complement Alibaba’s “New Retail” strategy that was launched a year ago.

These spaces will offer consumers a host of technological experiences, including virtual fitting rooms, browsing facilities, digital payments and delivery.

Meanwhile, at the local level, more than 600,000 convenience stores and 30,000 Rural Taobao service centres will participate by using Alibaba’s merchandising and inventory systems.

Alibaba said a number of major brands – such as Mondelez, Lay’s, Ferrero and Procter & Gamble – will work with these small operators to serve more than 100m customers.

And in a further development, Alibaba will cater for millions of Chinese consumers who live and work abroad by using Tmall, another of its online market places, to offer special promotions from more than 100 Chinese brands.

Tmall will also host augmented-reality games like “Catch the Cat”, which will allow Chinese consumers to earn coupons when they find and scan the Tmall mascot using the Mobile Taobao app. These mascots will feature in thousands of stores across China, including branches of Starbucks and KFC.

Sourced from Alibaba, CNBC; additional content by WARC staff