Earlier today we posted a report about a possible Apple + Alibaba payment system alliance. If you had any doubts as to why Apple would be interested in such an alliance, perhaps this next report will open your eyes. According to a new report out of China today, Alibaba's global online transactions on China's "Singles Day" hit US$163.1 million in the first two minutes after the China-based e-commerce giant kicked off the world's largest online shopping frenzy Tuesday.
According to figures compiled by Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou, total transactions in the first two minutes of its campaign broke the record for any online promotion in the world. Transactions then rose to US$1.63 billion in the first 38 minutes, a level Alibaba needed five hours and 49 minutes to reach last year, the company's figures showed.
Since 2009, Alibaba, which operates several popular online shopping sites, such as Taobao and Tmall, has launched an annual online sales campaign on Nov. 11 to represent single people in China. The online sales campaign has been used as a way for singles to shop and celebrate, a concept modeled on Valentine's Day for couples or lovers. This year, Alibaba has taken the Singles Day online shopping spree global by bringing several international brands onto its online sales platform.
Tmall is accommodating more than 27,000 brands in China and from abroad, including fashion brands ASOS, GAP and Uniqlo, and cosmetics brands Origins and Clinique. Alibaba said the transaction statistics were compiled from shoppers in 175 countries in the world who participated in the online sales campaign.
As of 12:40am Tuesday, consumers in Hong Kong had the most transactions of any overseas contingent, ahead of the United States and Taiwan.
Last year, Alibaba's Singles Day online sales campaign raked in 36.2 billion yuan (US$5.8 billion), in transactions, surpassing the US$2.9 billion in sales generated in the United States in 2013 by Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, which follow the Thanksgiving holiday.
Allowing Apple's new iPhone 6 customer-base to use Apple Pay to make transactions on Alibaba's online properties would be a huge deal for Apple in China and around the world.
For the record, Alipay.com is a third-party online payment platform with no transaction fees. It was launched in China in 2004 by Alibaba Group and its founder Jack Ma. According to analyst research report, Alipay has the biggest market share in China with 300 million users and control of just under half of China's online payment market in February 2014. According to Credit Suisse, the total value of online transactions in China grew from an insignificant size in 2008 to around RMB 4 trillion (US$660 billion) in 2012.
The company says Alipay operates with more than 65 financial institutions including Visa and MasterCard to provide payment services for Taobao and Tmall as well as more than 460,000 Chinese businesses. Internationally, more than 300 worldwide merchants use Alipay to sell directly to consumers in China. It currently supports transactions in 12 foreign currencies.