Alibaba reports 'steady' number of merchandise sold during 11.11 shopping event

Alibaba's ended its 13th 11.11 Global Shopping Festival with 540 billion yuan in GVM.

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Image: Alibaba Group

Following the conclusion of this year's 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, Alibaba Group has reported the event generated just over 540 billion yuan -- $84.5 billion -- in gross merchandise volume (GMV).

This year's result was only an 8.5% increase on last year's number, despite claiming that 290,00 brands participated and there were more than 900-plus million consumers in China shopping on Tmall. Alibaba has always measured the event's success based on the total GMV, and each time the results have smashed the previous GMV number. 

The Chinese e-commerce giant described the results as "steady" and of "quality growth" that reflects what it describes as a "dynamic" Chinese market

Over the last year, tech giants, including Alibaba, have faced constant scrutiny from the Chinese government. Earlier in the year, Alibaba was slapped with a record 18.2 billion yuan fine for breaching China's antitrust regulations and "abusing [its] market dominance".

In a statement provided to ZDNet, an Alibaba spokesperson conceded the tightening regulations is all just part of doing business in the country.

"Innovation and regulation often go hand-in-hand -- it's what ensures the development of a healthy and fair economy," the spokesperson said. 

"China is engaged in digitising its fast-growing economy, and building a regulatory framework is an essential part of this process. It's not targeting any specific company. It's about establishing the basis on which the internet economy will work to benefit everyone in China. 

"No matter where we operate in the world, we will always comply with all applicable laws and regulations and continue to stay compliant in light of any regulatory changes."

Up until Thursday, it was unclear whether Alibaba would release this year's GMV figure, after Alibaba CMO Chris Tung told media last month that the focus for the company would be more on the impact the event has on sustainability.

"We are making sustainability at the heart of the festival," Tung said.

"We believe that behavioural change is essential to ensuring a sustainable future, which is why as the creator and leader of the 11.11 festival, Alibaba aims to play an important role in driving those positive changes."

For the first time, the Chinese tech giant created a dedicated vertical to showcase energy-efficient and low-impact products. It also issued 100 million yuan worth of "green vouchers" to incentivise customers to shop green.

The company's logistic arm Cainiao Network, meanwhile, rolled out over 60,000 package collection and recycling stations across China and implemented 10,000 Cainiao post stations where users can reuse parcel packaging.

Ahead of the event, Alibaba said it also migrated all of its systems and operations onto its public cloud, including leveraging its Zhangbei County data centre. The decision to use its Zhangbei County data centre to support a large part of its e-commerce business helped reduce 26,000 tonnes of carbon emission, Alibaba said.

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