Put down the roses and blow out the candles because Singles Day is almost here, and this year Indonesia has announced they will be joining the festivities.
- Indonesia hope to increase online sales of their local products to the Chinese market
- Single’s Day is widely seen as just another marketing day
- Many Chinese retailers have started promoting Singles’ Day by offering good deals
What started out as a celebration of bachelorhood by a group of Nanjing University students on November 11, 1993, has since evolved into the world’s largest digital retail event of the year.
Last year, online sales in China alone surpassed $US44.5 billion ($63 billion) within 24 hours, according to Alibaba Group’s 2017 Singles Day report.
Next month, Indonesia is also looking to cash in by offering a range of products on Alibaba, which started marketing Singles Day as a shopping festival in 2009.
Indonesian Government representatives reached an agreement with Alibaba founder Jack Ma during the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Bali last week.
Alibaba started marketing Singles Day as a shopping festival in 2009. (ABC News: Jarrod Fankhauser)
The Indonesian local specialities that will be on offer to Chinese bargain hunters include shrimp crackers, cheese wafer biscuits, instant noodles, and edible birds’ nests believed to hold medicinal benefits.
Luwak coffee — one of the world’s most expensive coffee beans — will also be on sale. The beans are eaten and partly digested by civet cats before being collected from their excrement and sold for up to $200 per kilo.
“We hope to increase the online sales of Indonesian products to the Chinese market,” Tjahya Widayanti, a spokesperson from Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade, told the ABC.
He said the Ministry hoped the partnership would also help to decrease the country’s trade deficit to China.
‘Singles Day is just another marketing day’
Ms Ditayanti said she needed to queue to collect parcels at a depot after the Singles’ Day online shopping festival. (Reuters)
Indonesians living in China welcomed the move to promote home-grown products, saying it will make local favourites more accessible.
Ade Ditayanti, president of Indonesia’s student association in China’s Shandong province, was happy to see the products going on sale.
“I gave my Chinese friends Luwak coffee and instant noodles, they love it, so I think there’s a market,” she said.
Ms Ditayanti, who has been living in China for five years now, said Singles Day no longer has much to do with being single.
“Singles Day is just another marketing day, but the discounts and sales are huge, and of course, that makes me happy,” she said.
“But that also doesn’t mean that I’m single and celebrating the day just by shopping.
“I can shop anytime, you know, there’s always good deals in China.”
Julluis Wiraputra, an Indonesian Chinese language student at Quandong University, said he enjoys a good bargain, and remembers last year’s frenzy jamming up the Internet.
“I was on standby from 11:00pm the night before and started browsing the products,” Mr Wiraputra said.
“But after midnight the website was jammed. Sometimes after you pay, the transaction continue to fail.”
‘Genuine hunger for Australian brands in the Chinese market’
Eva Huang, a business law lecturer at University of Sydney, told the ABC there was a special meaning behind the date chosen for the annual celebrations as people look at numbers as images in the Chinese language.
November 11 is chosen because the number 1 represents loneliness and there are four ones in 11/11.
“If we do marketing or advertising in China, there is another dimension into it — the characters tells itself,” she said.
Alibaba last year reported selling $33 billion worth of merchandise through its Chinese and international retail marketplaces during the 24-hour sale, surpassing the combined total for both the United States’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Retail expert Gary Mortimer said Chinese retailers in Australia use Singles’ Day to offer deals. (Supplied)
Gary Mortimer, a retail expert in Australia, said Singles Day was also a good opportunity for Australian producers to expose their products to the Chinese online market.
“There is a genuine hunger for Australian brands and products in the Chinese market … whether you use Alibaba or not,” said Mr Mortimer, an Associate Professor from Queensland University of Technology.
“But also we are seeing Chinese retailers in capital cities in Australia leveraging the day.
“I know here in Brisbane at Sunnybank, which has a very large Chinese community, we will see Chinese retailers promoting Singles Day as well.”