The Alibaba headquarters was on triple-red-alert for November 11th’s Singles’ Day Sale, and an intrepid Caixin reporter went behind the scenes to photograph the HQ in action. While the reporter states that the nerve center is located in the Hangzhou suburbs, it would be more at home inside a massive volcano with Jack Ma’s head carved into the side.
Caixin reports, and Shanghaiist ponders (in italics):
A big screen is set up to constantly update the transaction figures of Alipay, Alibaba’s online payment service. One the left is the accumulated transaction value for the day, and on the right is the number of deals. The lower part of the screen shows hourly data. [The upper part shows the location of a geosynchronous laser satellite.]
The huge e-commerce sale requires an equally huge logistics network, which is the main bottleneck for the industry. The screen, therefore, also shows key figures on delivery data.
The smallest details are accounted for, from the logistics situation in the island province of Hainan to weather and traffic conditions around the country. [And the conditions of each frothing piranha in the ‘death tank’]
Alibaba was prepared for an especially busy day. By the evening of November 10, 50 million customers had put more than 400,000 items in their virtual shopping carts on Tmall and Taobao just itching for the sales to start. [Most purchased items included black jumpsuits and 10RMB henchmen]
[Images via Caixin]