Alibaba announced that more than $7 billion USD (47.5 billion RMB) of gross merchandise volume (GMV) was settled through Alipay in the first two hours of the 2016 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

Millions of viewers watched the Alibaba Group 2016 11.11 Global Shopping Festival Countdown Gala live in the hours leading up to the official midnight start of November 11. The gala was held in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

Here are three ways how Alibaba prepared the gala to take its flagship event up another notch this year.

1. Entertainment And Interactive Engagement

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Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival Gala Celebration Venue

 Alibaba introduced a wide range of multimedia activities and invited international celebrities, music idols and football stars to gain traction and to help merchants market their brand and products.

“Future consumption is going to be in line with entertainment. There was a huge engagement from the viewers and it made us confident about what we planned,” Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group said through a video call.

Consumers took part in competitions in gala by shaking their smartphones equipped with Taobao or Tmall apps during the event, to win apparel as worn by the celebrities.

“More than 13,000 brands around the world participated in this year’s Global Shopping Festival. For Victoria Secret models, it was their first time to cat walk on any other stage,” Daniel Zhang said.

2. Live-streaming

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Victoria’s Secret model He Sui walks down the stage at Alibaba’s Global 11.11 Global Shopping Festival Gala Celebration

The gala was broadcast live by the official media partner, Zhejiang Satellite TV, and Alibaba’s media assets like Youku Tudou, Tmall TV Box and UCWeb also streamed the gala.

“It was the most complicated challenge for us ever. It’s five live shows all together, including television, video site, and mobile phone,” David Hill, a Los Angeles-based TV producer as well as the director of this year’s gala said. “It was live-streaming and 35 million people have watched it. This has not happened before.”

3. The New Energy Is The Data

With Alibaba’s strategic focus of globalization efforts, Alibaba rounded up approximately 600 media outlets from home and abroad. On the huge screen of media center, sales ranking on each Tmall’s product category, global transaction volume, and the best selling brand turned out real-time.

“We will provide seamless experience and pay attention to the every detail,” Mr. Zhang said. “We will support with our technology team to deal with the peak transaction. We made 500 contingency plans to deal with any difficulties that our customers might have, to perfect experience for shoppers.”

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Top countries selling cross-border to China was US, Japan, Korea, Germany, and Australia according to Alibaba’s figures recorded at 12:06 a.m. on November 11th.

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Video call with Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group, based in the Alibaba headquarter in Hangzhou 

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Within the first 5 minutes, total GMV settled through Alipay exceeded USD 1 billion (RMB 6.8 billion)

alibaba3Alibaba tracked real-time consumption activity in different cities in China. 

Image Credit: Alibaba, TechNode