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2017-11-14 16:22
The sales record Alibaba set on its “Singles Day” shopping festival Saturday was not merely astonishing but shocking. 

Alibaba sold 28.3 trillion won ($25.4 billion) worth of goods in a single day on Nov. 11 ― numerically written as 11.11 ― compared with the 64.9 trillion won in Korea’s online shopping transaction for the whole of last year. About 1.2 trillion won worth of electronic gadgets, garments and cosmetics were shipped every hour.

Up to 15 million brands, including 60,000 global labels, took part in online and offline sales on what has become the biggest day in global retail history, far surpassing its U.S. counterpart, Black Friday.

Even more surprising than these impressive figures was the “system.”

More than 1.5 billion transactions ― from purchasing orders to payments and deliveries ― were carried out through mobile services. During peak demand, no fewer than 260,000 orders were made but handled without a hitch, awakening foreigners to the sheer prowess of China’s mobile economy. Alibaba’s delivery unit, armed with autonomous robots and automated warehouses, processed more than 812 million shipments.

What all this suggests is the advent of a retail revolution. Mobile retail has long taken center stage in our daily life. Consumption and distribution are also centering on e-commerce. Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, in an interview with CCTV, stressed the concept of “New Retail,” which combines people and products. Simply put, New Retail allows consumers to find items offline and order them using QR codes.

Which means there would be no distinctions between online and offline retail. Actually up to 100,000 offline stores were turned into online shops on the day.

But what’s the situation in Korea? Some Korean manufacturers appear content with higher-than-expected sales during the Chinese festival.

They should know and act far more than that. The global retail scene is changing by the day. Innovative ideas and technology can no longer be essential elements. Until when should bureaucrats here be hampering the private sector by adhering to their regulatory turf?

All this would be less frustrating had this country not boasted world-class information technology.

By most accounts, what happened in China on Saturday must come as a wakeup call to Korea’s government and businesses.

        

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