Alibaba's Singles' Day, China's massive ecommerce festival held annually on November 11, has grown to surpass pretty much every other online shopping event in the world.
During last year's Singles' Day, Alibaba sold RMB168.2 billion ($24.88 billion) worth of goods and services worldwide, 90% of which came from mobile. In addition, 812 million orders were delivered by its logistics arm Cainiao. According to projections by research and consultancy Askci, sales could reach RMB193.4 billion ($29.61 billion) this year.
Alibaba's ambitions are even bigger for this year's Singles' Day, its 10th anniversary.
For starters, the ecommerce giant is leaning on Lazada, its Southeast Asia-based subsidiary, to further global expansion. Alibaba acquired a majority stake in Lazada back in 2016 and has been increasing its holdings in the online retailer ever since.
Lazada is already popular in six countries in the region: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. We forecast that these six countries will generate combined revenues of $24.27 billion in retail ecommerce sales this year.
However, Alibaba faces a number of challenges in reaching these different markets, including language differences.
To help minimize the language barrier between cross-border buyers and sellers, Alibaba is using AI-supported translation technology within its chat tools on multinational sites AliExpress and Lazada.