With less than a month to go until November 11, China’s Bachelor’s Day, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is charging full steam ahead to promote its Double 11 online shopping carnival. One of its major marketing ploys has been to deck its newly acquired social networking platform Sina Weibo with gift certificates.
Critics just could not make head nor tail of Alibaba’s decision in late April to buy the lion’s share of Sina Weibo, convinced the money-losing Twitter-like microblogging site would be a liability for Alibaba. But maybe the Double 11 promotion day will silence those critics by demonstrating synergies in the tie-up.
Alibaba plans to distribute 1.2 billion yuan (US$196 million) worth of Double-11-exclusive cash coupons, of which at least a sixth will be available only through Sina Weibo. Bachelor’s Day has become a time for China’s single men to lament their solo status but Alibaba’s gimmick aims to stir up the impulse among Sina Weibo’s 536 million-plus registered users to shop with friends on November 11.
If the promotion proves successful, it will suggest that Alibaba has opened a sustainable way to cash in on the huge user base of the social networking site.
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