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Singles' Day

Hong Kong looks to copy mainland China’s Singles’ Day shopping bonanza

Commerce minister offers government’s support to July event

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 February, 2017, 12:36pm
UPDATED : Monday, 20 February, 2017, 12:51pm

Hong Kong will launch its first citywide online-to-offline shopping festival this year, hoping to emulate the success of China’s popular Singles’ Day, commerce minister Greg So Kam-leung said on Thursday.

The promotion is intended to boost retail sales in the city, which recently recorded a year-on-year slump.

That’s the sound of the cash register as Alibaba braces for another bumper Singles’ Day

“Online to offline”, or O2O, refers to drawing customers from retail websites into physical stores.

“Online and offline selling were independent at first, but gradually the two can work together to make the pie bigger,” So said, adding that the 7.1 O2O Hong Kong Shopping Festival, on July 1, was inspired by the success of e-commerce giant Alibaba’s annual November 11 event.

Singles’ Day is billed as the biggest shopping event in the world, and set a record last year with sales of US$17.8 billion, beating the previous year’s US$14.3 billion. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

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So said the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau would support the festival and help bring the online and offline shopping sectors together. The shopping event, organised by the Hong Kong O2O eCommerce Federation (HKOEF), will last three to seven days.

HKOEF is a group of companies aiming to “digitise” traditional companies and profit from online-offline events.

“In Hong Kong, the traditional retail sector has been seriously challenged by e-commerce,” said Karen Chan Ka-yin, founding chairman of the HKOEF and executive director of electrical appliance manufacturer German Pool. “We would like to do something ‘explosive’ to combine online and offline shopping to help, and this can also stimulate the tourism sector.”

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Government figures showed retail sales value fell 2.9 per cent year on year in December 2016.

Organisers said the numbers 7 and 1 would be part of a theme for the event.

“Products could be priced at HK$71 or HK$710, selling at 71 per cent of the original price, or just 71 units of limited-edition products,” Chan said. She added that many brands and retailers already planned to join the festival.

Participating companies include well-known retailers such as Sasa cosmetics stores and Tai Hing roast meat restaurants, which will offer 710 cups of its signature milk tea at HK$7.10 each.

The May Cheong group, which makes die-cast cars for worldwide sale, will make their products available in Hong Kong for the first time.