Many of Alibaba's consumers on Tuesday came from China's better developed urban areas including Shanghai, Beijing, and the coastal provinces of Guangdong and Zhejiang. But to keep the company's growth robust, Alibaba has been targeting the country's rural areas, where many Chinese are still offline. However, that's starting to change with the arrival of more smartphones in rural areas.
Tsai said he was sent a photo of a rural family crowding around a package just delivered to them. "They're viewing this as if it's a newborn baby come to life," he added.
Chinese merchants living in rural areas are also making goods, and Alibaba wants to help them reach consumers in China's urban centers, and even outside the country, company executives said.
This year was the first time Alibaba extended its Singles' Day event to markets outside of China, by offering discounted products through its English-language AliExpress site. As part of that promotion, free international shipping was offered for certain products to buyers based in Brazil, Spain and Russia.
At the end of this year's Singles' Day event, neighboring Hong Kong ranked as Alibaba's biggest market outside of China, followed by Russia and then the U.S., according to the company. In total, buyers in 217 different markets participated in Alibaba's sales festival.
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