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Online retailers ready for latest sales extravaganza

By Chen Limin (China Daily)

14:38, December 12, 2012

Online shop owners prepare to deliver orders to their customers in Yiwu, Zhejiang province. Online retailers are anticipating a "double 12" shopping spree on Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012. Gao Erqiang / China Daily

After enjoying what may prove to be the world's biggest ever, one-day, online shopping bonanza last month, Chinese e-commerce players are gearing up for another sales promotion on Wednesday, this time luring customers with what's being dubbed the "double 12" shopping spree.

The promotion, initiated by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, aims to attract users by offering distinctive products and services rather than emphasizing low prices as they did on Nov 11.

The record-breaking "Single's Day" promotion of Alibaba is reported to have generated sales worth 19.1 billion yuan ($3.06 billion), about 50 percent more than the so-called Cyber Monday in the United States on Nov 26, the day following Thanksgiving weekend.

"The Nov 11 promotion, held yearly since 2008, is widely known among online shoppers, and Alibaba and online vendors have prepared for months to boost sales on that day," said Chen Tao, partner of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, adding that the promotion on Wednesday is not likely to be as big as the one on Nov 11.

Chen estimates total online sales this year are expected to reach 1.2 trillion yuan, up from 760 billion yuan last year.

By Monday Alibaba said 900,000 online vendors that sell on its had signed up to take part, with more than 10 million items lined up to be bought with the click of a finger.

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