Alibaba taps into less-developed regions for 2019's mid-year shopping festival

Alibaba's is targeting less-developed regions for 2019's "618 Mid-year Shopping Festival", in the hope that its 1.5 million new products can benefit from tapping into the potential these areas present.

The event launched on 1 June (running until 18 June) and as consumers in less-developed regions look for products to upgrade their lifestyles, Alibaba aims to engage these customers with quality products from different brands. This year, the festival has included more than 200,000 brands and retailers.

"People in these areas might have less access to physical shopping facilities than those in big cities, and this year we are working closely with our partners to address their needs and offer them the same good quality products on our platforms with innovative and fun programmes,” said Jiang Fan, president of Taobao and Tmall.

Despite the economic megaboom of recent years, 70% of China's total population still lives in smaller cities and rural areas. According to Tmall's figures, over half of the sales generated on its Luxury Pavilion come from customers outside China’s first and second-tier cities.

To tap into this trend, Tmall has debuted about 1.5 million products during the festival and is enticing customers to enjoy discounts on them. In addition to deals on these items, brands are offering millions of other products at a discount as well.

Alibaba is also using other channels such as Juhuasuan, Taobao Livestreaming, and Daily Deals on the Taobao app. For this year's festival, Alibaba recorded that within its first hour, from midnight to 1 am, gross merchandise volume (GMV) exceeded that of the first 10 hours last year. And by exactly 11:23 am on 1 June, total GMV had surpassed last year’s full-day figure.