Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com reported nearly $70 billion in sales Monday on Singles Day, an annual marketing event that is the world's busiest online shopping day.
The day was a temporary relief to retailers that face fading demand as Chinese consumers tighten their belts, anxious over slowing economic growth and the tariff war with Washington.
University students created Singles Day in the 1990s as an alternative to Valentine's Day for people without romantic partners. Alibaba adopted it as a marketing tool a decade ago.
Rivals including JD.com, China's biggest online direct retailer, and electronics seller Suning joined in. The tactic has caught on in other Asian countries, too.
The creators picked Nov. 11 because the date is written with four singles - "11 11."
On Monday, retailers offered discounts on goods from smartphones to craft beer to health care packages.
"Yesterday night, I was browsing past 11 p.m. Many of my friends around me were staying up till 2 a.m. to buy stuff," said Zhu Yirun, a graduate student in Beijing.
Alibaba said sales by merchants on its platforms totaled 268.4 billion yuan ($38.3 billion) for the 24 hours ending at midnight Monday after passing its 2018 total before 6 p.m. JD.com said its sales were 204.4 billion yuan ($29.1 billion).
Alibaba kicked off the event Sunday night with a concert by Taylor Swift at a Shanghai stadium.
E-commerce grew rapidly in China due to a lack of traditional retailing networks and government efforts to promote internet use. The country has the biggest online population with more than 800 million web users.
Alibaba, JD.com, Baidu and other internet giants have expanded into consumer finance, entertainment and offline retailing.
Monday was Alibaba's first Singles Day since its founder, Jack Ma, stepped down as chairman in September. He stayed on as a member of the Alibaba Partnership, a 36-member group with the right to nominate a majority of the company's board of directors.
E-commerce has created some of China's biggest fortunes.
Ma, 55, is China's richest entrepreneur with a net worth of $39 billion, according to the Hurun Report, which tracks the country's wealthy.
Colin Huang of Pinduoduo was No. 7 on Hurun's list at $19 billion. Zhang Jindong of Suning was No. 15 at $14 billion and Richard Liu of JD.com was No. 28 at $11 billion.
Last year, Alibaba reported Singles Day sales of 213.5 billion yuan ($30.8 billion), or more than 13 times its daily average of about 16 billion yuan ($2.3 billion).
Suning said sales of smartphones and other electronics passed 1 billion yuan ($160 million) in the first minute after midnight. The company said later sales were up 86% over 2018's Singles Day but gave no total.
Dangdang, an online book retailer, said it sold 6.8 million copies in the first hour.
Chinese online spending is growing faster than total retail sales but also is weakening as economic growth decelerates. Growth declined to a multi-decade low of 6% over a year earlier in the quarter ending in September.
Online sales of goods rose 16.8% over a year earlier in the first nine months of 2019 to 5.8 trillion yuan ($825 billion), according to official data. That was more than double the 8.2% growth rate for total consumer spending but down from an average of about 30% in recent years.
E-commerce made up 19.5% of Chinese consumer spending, compared with about 11% of spending for American consumers.
Yang Wei, a migrant worker in Beijing, planned to skip the online rush.
"I feel like the difference (in price) is not that big, and since everyone's buying all at once, the logistics and delivery are slower," said Yang. "I think that it's actually better for me to buy when not everyone's buying."
Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited inaugurated its 350th Branch as Basabo Branch at Central Basabo in the capital on Monday. Md. Mahbub ul Alam, Managing Director and CEO of the Bank inaugurated the branch as chief guest.
Abu Reza Md. Yeahia, Deputy Managing Director, presided over the program. Mohammod Ullah, Head of Dhaka East Zone gave the welcome speech while Md. Ruhul Amin, Head of Basabo Branch thanked the audience.
Masud Hasan Shamim, Md. Monir Hossain, Md. Golam Mostofa, Gopinath Das and Akhteruzzaman, social organizers, Masuma Khanam Rani, Women Entrepreneur, Md. Shafiuddin, businessperson and ANM Main Uddin Siraji, academician also spoke on the occasion.
Local businesspersons, academicians, professionals and social elites attended the programme.
Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com reported a total of more than $50 billion in sales on Monday in the first half of Singles Day, an annual marketing event that is the world's busiest online shopping day.
Singles Day began as a joke holiday created by university students in the 1990s as an alternative to Valentine's Day for people without romantic partners. It falls on Nov. 11 because the date is written with four singles — "11 11."
Alibaba, the world's biggest e-commerce brand by total sales volume, adopted the day as a sales tool a decade ago. Rivals including JD.com and Suning joined in, offering discounts on goods from smartphones to travel packages.
E-commerce has grown rapidly in China due to a lack of traditional retailing networks and government efforts to promote internet use. Alibaba, JD.com, Baidu and other internet giants have expanded into consumer finance, entertainment and offline retailing.
On Monday, online retailers offered discounts on goods from craft beer to TV sets to health care packages.
Alibaba said sales by merchants on its platforms totaled 188.8 billion yuan ($27 billion) between midnight and noon. JD.com, the biggest Chinese online direct retailer, said sales reached 165.8 billion yuan ($23.8 billion) by 9 a.m.
Electronics retailer Suning said sales passed 1 billion yuan ($160 million) in the first minute after midnight. Dangdang, an online book retailer, said it sold 6.8 million copies in the first hour.
Alibaba kicked off the event with a concert Sunday night by Taylor Swift at a Shanghai stadium.
Chinese online spending is growing faster than retail overall but is weakening as economic growth slows and consumers, jittery about Beijing's tariff war with Washington and possible losses, put off big purchases.
Online sales of goods rose 16.8% over a year earlier in the first nine months of 2019 to 5.8 trillion yuan ($825 billion), according to government data. That accounted for 19.5% of total consumer spending. Growth was down from an annual average of about 30% in recent years.
Shares declined Monday in Asia as investors watched for the latest developments in the China-U.S. trade war saga.
Hong Kong led the retreat, with the Hang Seng falling 2.1% to 27,062.49 by mid-morning after a police officer wounded a protester in a shooting. Demonstrators blocked subway lines and roads in the southern Chinese financial hub during the Monday morning commute.
Uncertainty has risen in the city after more than five months of protests that began with a fight over an extradition bill that has expanded to include demands for greater democracy and police accountability.
The Shanghai Composite index declined 1.2% to 2,928.04, while Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 0.2% to 23,342.05. South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.7% to 2,122.32.
Australia's S&P ASX/200 was the sole major index to advance, gaining 0.5% to 6,759.90. Shares fell in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
Hopes for a breakthrough in the trade standoff between Beijing and Washington were shaken when President Donald Trump on Friday dismissed a Chinese official's assertion that the U.S. side had agreed to roll back some tariffs on Chinese goods that it has imposed in the conflict over trade and technology policies.
A Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman said Thursday that the two sides had agreed to a phased cancellation of their tariff hikes as part of an agreement now under negotiation.
"They'd like to have a rollback," Trump told reporters at the White House. "I haven't agreed to anything."
That raised doubts over progress officials had suggested was being made in finalizing a "Phase 1" deal that was announced on Oct. 12.
A private sector source with knowledge of the talks said Thursday that the U.S. had agreed to suspend the duties Trump threatened to impose on Dec. 15th on about $160 billion of Chinese imports as part of the agreement. But there is dissension within the White House about whether and by how much to roll back 15% duties imposed on Sept. 1 on another $112 billion of goods.
"It will be the U.S.-China trade talks that will continue to dictate the daily swings in sentiment this week," Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.
"What matters is getting some sort of interim trade deal across the line for both sides. President Trump's comments sounded more like a negotiating tactic than an actual threat, and Wall Street seemed to agree."
Shares in New York ended last week with healthy gains, though stocks wobbled between small gains and losses on Friday, amid the conflicting signals about the trade talks.
In the end, the S&P 500 rallied in the last hour of trading, closing at a record 3,093.08, up 0.3%. That was the fifth straight week of gains for the index, which matches its longest winning streak in the last two years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up less than 0.1%, to 27,681.24, and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.5% to 8,475.31.
Walt Disney jumped 3.8% for one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500 after it reported stronger profit for the latest quarter than expected, thanks in part to its "Toy Story 4"and "The Lion King" movies. The company also said it received a positive response from a test of its planned streaming service, Disney Plus.
On the losing end was Gap, which sank 7.6% for the largest loss in the S&P 500 after the retailer slashed its profit forecast for the year. It also announced the resignation of its CEO, Art Peck.
Benchmark crude oil lost 47 cents to $56.77 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 9 cents on Friday to settle at $57.24 a barrel.
Brent crude oil, the international standard, lost 52 cents to $61.99 per barrel. It rose 22 cents on Friday to $62.51 a barrel.
The dollar fell to 109.03 Japanese yen from 109.18 yen on Friday. The euro rose to $1.1024 from $1.1021.
Vietnam spent nearly 4.3 billion U.S. dollars into importing chemicals and over 4.4 billion U.S. dollars importing chemical products in the first 10 months of this year, up 0.4 percent and 6.7 percent on-year, respectively, according to the country's Ministry of Industry and Trade on Monday.
Between January and October, China was Vietnam's biggest exporter of chemicals and chemical products, followed by South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Singapore.
In the same period, the country exported more than 1.6 billion U.S. dollars worth of chemicals and over 1.1 million U.S. dollars worth of chemical products, up 7.5 percent and 24.1 percent, respectively.
Last year, Vietnam spent nearly 5.2 billion U.S. dollars importing chemicals, and roughly 5.1 billion U.S. dollars importing chemical products, mainly from China, said the ministry.