Last week Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba shocked the web with news that its subsidiaries Taobao (like a Chinese eBay) and T-mall (like Amazon) sold a massive $3.06 billion in product
in a single 24-hour period.Three billion dollars is almost triple the entire 2011 Black Friday sales of e-commerce sites in the United States, and this is a testament to both the growing maturity of the Chinese online market and the central position Alibaba holds in China.
So how do you do $3 billion in sales in a single day? I interviewed an Alibaba spokesperson, who preferred to remain unnamed, to find out.
Almost as many users as Twitter
First of all, it helps to have users — lots of them.
The two sites, Taobao.com and Tmall.com, share a combined user base of half a billion registered users. That’s only about 30 percent of the total Chinese population, which means that Alibaba has a long runway for continued growth as the Chinese middle class continues to grow — and suggesting that a $10 billion day is not out of the realm of possibility in years to come.
(It also means, by the way, that it might be crazy for Yahoo to sell its stake in Alibaba now. Yahoo still owns 23 percent
of the Chinese e-commerce giant after pocketing $7.6 billion U.S from selling almost half its original stake. Down the road, however, it might be like owning a 23 percent of Google, or Facebook … times 10.)
Both Taobao.com and Tmall process payments via Alipay, Alibaba’s payments processor. Alipay has over 700 million user accounts
, presumably all with credit card payment information, as of mid-2012.