Alibaba recruit stars for the 11.11 Singles Day gala

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Alibaba are gearing up for their 11.11 Singles Day Gala and have announced award-winning producer and singer Pharrell Williams, British pop singer-songwriter Jessie J, tennis superstar Maria Sharapova and Real Madrid icon Luis Figo will attend this year’s 11.11 Countdown Gala Celebration. That’s not the full line up, there’s more star power to come—with surprise guests introduced later this week.

The third annual countdown gala, a Chinese-style variety show that runs in the hours leading up to the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival’s midnight launch, has become truly a red-carpet event—with more than 100 celebrities expected to attend on the evening of Nov. 10 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.

The event will be livestreamed on the Alibaba-owned mobile Taobao app and video streaming site Youku from 7:40 p.m. Friday, local time, while also being broadcast on three Chinese TV stations: Beijing TV, Zhejiang TV and Shenzhen TV.

11.11 Singles Day Gala to be mobile first

Watching on TV won’t mean missing out on this year’s much-anticipated interactive mobile features. When the hosts introduce an interactive segment on the show, such as big giveaways of red packets worth up to RMB $4,999 (USD $755), the TV stations will simultaneously send out signals to consumers via satellite. By shaking their smartphones, viewers will see interactive content on their phones.

“It is truly remarkable. We can do things in China we can’t do virtually anywhere else in the world. In America, if you stream to any more than one or two million people you get a swirling circle of death, meaning it’s not connecting. In China, we can stream to over 35 million people. It boggles the mind.”
Emmy-winning veteran television producer David Hill, who is directing the gala for the second year in a row

What is 11.11

11.11 is known as Singles Day and was first celebrated by young men at Nanjing University in 1993 when it was dubbed bachelors day. Now widely celebrated by both sexe. in 2009, Alibaba began using the made-up “holiday” to promote discounts at retailers on its e-commerce platforms, as a means of boosting revenue in the traditionally quiet sales period before the Lunar New Year season. The ‘Double eleven” term was trademarked in China by Alibaba in 2012 as celebration morphed into a festival of shopping.

By 2016 the 11.11 Singles Day was racking up $17.8 billion GMV making it well over five times a big a sales event as the US Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales of $3.07 billion.

If you are in the UK, even if you don’t sell to China, don’t forget that there are over 400,000 ethnic Chinese living in the UK according to the 2011 Census. Doubtless many will be also celebrating 11.11.

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