Prepare for the Greatest eCommerce Challenge: China's Singles Day
December 09, 2014

Mehdi Daoudi

Share this

With all this talk about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you may not have realized that China’s Singles Day on November 11 officially became the world’s biggest eCommerce event last year, and it exceeded those results this year, thanks in large part to the huge impact of Alibaba. The online retail giant says it pulled in $9.3 billion on its own, and nearly doubled its number of orders from last year, going from 150 million to 278 million.

Alibaba wasn’t the only one getting in on the action, however, as other major retail players saw huge spikes as well. Alibaba competitor Jingdong Mall ( reported a 120 percent increase over last year’s Nov. 11 sales, and numerous US-based eCommerce giants like Amazon also vied for a piece of the pie.

With all of this activity, sites had to be prepared for the huge spike in traffic, and those that suffered performance and availability issues surely lost out on revenue as their customers went to competitors’ sites instead. In particular, US and international retailers targeting China for Singles Day faced the tough road of competing head-to-head with Chinese companies. To have any chance of success, these foreign retailers targeting China have to deliver superior website speed and availability. The best way to do that, and navigate the regional connectivity issues and the Great Firewall of China, is to have servers, CDNs, and other infrastructure located in mainland China (not Hong Kong or Taiwan), usually recognized by having a .CN URL as opposed to a .COM URL.

As we monitored the performance of many of these retailers across international borders, some of the results weren’t that surprising: the .CN sites were markedly faster than .COMs.

However, what was surprising was that even the US and international companies offering .CN versions of their websites (and placing infrastructure on the ground in mainland China) were, overall as a group, much slower than their Chinese e-commerce counterparts with .CN websites.

Clearly there’s something else going on here. We found that the other hang-up that many US and international companies encountered on Singles Day – consistent with our past In-China web performance analyses – lies with third party tags. Many sites, even when they have China-based infrastructure, still host third party elements from blocked companies like Google and Facebook, which mitigate the benefit of having their servers inside the Great Firewall. That impact is especially problematic when those tags are not loaded after the rest of the page has completed rendering. And that, in turn, will lead to users giving up and trying to shop elsewhere.

The lessons learned are straightforward: China is a unique entity in the DevOps world, and in order to compete there, you have to treat your site like it belongs to an actual Chinese company. That means infrastructure on the ground, a .CN URL, and no third party tags from outside of the country. And most importantly, don’t include content on those pages that Chinese consumers do not have access to.

Doing so won’t mean that you’re going to compete with Alibaba, but at least it could help to not turn off customers who did try to visit your site.

Mehdi Daoudi is CEO and Co-Founder of Catchpoint
Share this

The Latest

December 07, 2023

Part 4 covers OpenTelemetry: Next year, we're going to see more embrace of OpenTelemetry across the entire industry — opening up the future of instrumentation ...

December 06, 2023

Part 3 covers even more on Observability: Observability will move up the organization to support the sustainability and FinOps drive. The combined pressure of needing to adopt more sustainable practices and tackle rising cloud costs will catapult observability from an IT priority to a business requirement in 2024 ...

December 05, 2023

Part 2 covers more on Observability: In 2024, observability platforms will embrace and innovate with new technologies like GenAI for real-time analytics, becoming the fulcrum for digital experience management ...

December 04, 2023

The Holiday Season means it is time for APMdigest's annual list of Application Performance Management (APM) predictions, covering IT performance topics. Industry experts — from analysts and consultants to the top vendors — offer thoughtful, insightful, and often controversial predictions on how APM, Observability, AIOps and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2024. Part 1 covers APM and Observability ...

November 30, 2023

To help you stay on top of the ever-evolving tech scene, Automox IT experts shake the proverbial magic eight ball and share their predictions about tech trends in the coming year. From M&A frenzies to sustainable tech and automation, these forecasts paint an exciting picture of the future ...

November 29, 2023
The past few years have presented numerous challenges for businesses: a pandemic, rising interest rates, supply chain disruptions, and geopolitical conflict that sent shockwaves across the global economy. But change may finally be on the horizon. According to a recent report by Endava ... a majority of executives confirmed they are feeling optimistic about the current business climate, and as a result, are forecasting larger IT budgets, increased technology funding and rollout, and prioritized innovation in the coming year ...
November 28, 2023

Incident management processes are not keeping pace with the demands of modern operations teams, failing to meet the needs of SREs as well as platform and ops teams. Results from the State of DevOps Automation and AI Survey, commissioned by Transposit, point to an incident management paradox. Despite nearly 60% of ITOps and DevOps professionals reporting they have a defined incident management process that's fully documented in one place and over 70% saying they have a level of automation that meets their needs, teams are unable to quickly resolve incidents ...

November 27, 2023

Today, in the world of enterprise technology, the challenges posed by legacy Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) systems have long been a source of concern for IT departments. In many instances, this promising solution has become an organizational burden, hindering progress, depleting resources, and taking a psychological and operational toll on employees ...

November 22, 2023

Within retail organizations across the world, IT teams will be bracing themselves for a hectic holiday season ... While this is an exciting opportunity for retailers to boost sales, it also intensifies severe risk. Any application performance slipup will cause consumers to turn their back on brands, possibly forever. Online shoppers will be completely unforgiving to any retailer who doesn't deliver a seamless digital experience ...

November 21, 2023

Black Friday is a time when consumers can cash in on some of the biggest deals retailers offer all year long ... Nearly two-thirds of consumers utilize a retailer's web and mobile app for holiday shopping, raising the stakes for competitors to provide the best online experience to retain customer loyalty. Perforce's 2023 Black Friday survey sheds light on consumers' expectations this time of year and how developers can properly prepare their applications for increased online traffic ...