Issue 11 | November 13, 2017

World’s Largest Shopping Spree Reaches Historic High
Chinese consumers spent a total of $38 billion in 24 hours shopping online during the annual national shopping festival known as “Singles Day” (November 11). The shopping spree generated 1.38 billion packages (roughly equivalent to one package per Chinese person). Here’s the breakdown of the total GMV by shopping platform:

Singles Day sales 2017 Alibaba

The vast majority of shopping was done on one of China’s two e-commerce giants, Alibaba and JD.com. In a 24-hour period, Alibaba racked up GMV of $25.3 billion ­– 39% higher than last year ($17.8 billion) with 90% of sales generated on mobile.

The night before Double 11, Alibaba put on a four-hour star-studded TV show that enlisted 789 different performers and was streamed to over 300 million Chinese consumers. The gala featured Nicole Kidman, Pharrell Williams, LeBron James, Maria Sharapova, Luís Figo, Jessie J (who sang Price Tag), and Lang Lang, among others.

Nicole Kidman at Alibaba Singles Day Gala

Once the clock hit midnight of November 11, Alibaba’s GMV reached $1 billion within two minutes, and reached $10 billion in an hour and six minutes. Alipay’s engineering team was able to support 260,000 transactions per second at the peak. The first delivery of Singles Day orders on Alibaba arrived just 12 minutes and 18 seconds after midnight.

Watch Hans Tung (managing partner of GGV Capital) talk about Singles Day onBloomberg and CNBC.

(GGV was an early investor in Alibaba in 2003.)
“Content King” Toutiao and Musical.ly announce agreement to merge
Toutiao, China’s leading AI-powered content platform, and Musical.ly, one of the world’s most popular mobile platforms for short-form video, announced last week that they have signed an agreement for Musical.ly to merge with Toutiao (a.k.a Bytedance).

Watch Hans talk about this deal on Bloomberg TV.

The merger will create significant synergy between the two Chinese companies. Musical.ly is the first consumer Internet product developed by a Chinese team that has reached mainstream status in the West, while Toutiao has strong technical capabilities that enable it to use AI and algorithms to recommend content and targeted advertising to users.

Just a month ago, Hans interviewed Toutiao founder Zhang Yiming at a packed GGV Evolving Lifestyle conference in Beijing. Read the conversation and our roundup of Toutiao’s products here.

Toutiao musical.ly
Tencent now owns 12% of Snap
Tencent, an early investor in Snap in 2013, has acquired more of Snap’s shares on the open market, raising its stake to over 12%.

The news came one day after Snap posted weak quarterly results that sent its shares plunging. It also raises some interesting possibilities that Tencent might help with the redesign of the Snapchat app, which Evan Spiegel admits is “hard to use.” Tencent said it wants to work with Snap on developing mobile games and “newsfeed” ads.

Sogou goes public in New York
Chinese Internet company Sogou went public on the NYSE last Thursday under the ticker “SOGO.” With shares priced at $13, the company raised $585 million.

Sogou IPO
Sogou CEO Wang Xiaochuan and Sohu CEO Charles Zhang
The Beijing-based Sogou (market cap $5.4 billion, 2016 revenue $660 million) was founded in 2005, and offers products in three main categories: search engine, input method, and others.

According to China Internet Watch, Sogou Search was the second largest search engine in China with a 7.9% market share on mobile  in Q1, 2017. Baidu (market cap $82 billion, 2016 revenue $10 billion) is the clear leader in this market. Sogou is best known for the Sogou Input Method (used for typing Chinese), which dominates the market for Chinese language input methods.

Sogou is controlled by internet portal operator Sohu.com Inc., (which went public on NASDAQ in 2000) but counts Tencent as a major shareholder. More than 30% of Sogou traffic comes from Tencent.

– Zara Zhang & Hans Tung at GGV Capital