Here's Why Today is Another Shopping Festival in China

By Ryan Gandolfo, June 18, 2020

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While Alibaba’s ‘Single’s Day’ online shopping bonanza tends to gain the most attention each year among young Chinese consumers, June 18 also marks another major Chinese shopping festival known simply as ‘618.’ 

Launched by JD.com, the mid-year shopping event is a prime excuse for the company to celebrate its founding (June 18, 1998) while also racking in a ton of sales. In 2019, JD exceeded RMB200 billion in total transaction volume and served 750 million customers worldwide during 618. 

JD’s shopping promotion technically started back in 2004, right after the company moved online. According to JD’s corporate blog, founder Richard Liu went digital after the SARS outbreak in 2003, deciding to tap into the power of the internet to support the business. In its early days for 618, JD would launch flash sales where customers could buy insanely discounted items like a RMB100 keyboard for just RMB1.

Much like the company, 618 has grown rapidly over the past decade. In 2011, the shopping festival was extended from a one-day event to a month-long celebration. That year, sales volume reached RMB200 million and set a record for ecommerce daily sales in China, according to JD.

More recently, industry players – both online and offline – have capitalized on the mid-year shopping festival by running 618-branded promotions. The June shopping event has also generated interest from overseas companies, with hard disk and data storage company Western Digital selling 10,000 hard disks on JD in 10 minutes. The US-based company was promoted during a June 1 midnight livestream this year, which led to record sales of 240% year-on-year growth.

This year’s 618 event marks the first major online shopping festival since the COVID-19 outbreak. Given the way ecommerce has performed in recent months, this year should be another happy birthday celebration for JD.

[Cover image via JD]

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