(BEIJING) — Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com reported a total of more than $50 billion in sales on Monday in the first half of Singles Day, an annual marketing event that is the world’s busiest online shopping day.
Singles Day began as a joke holiday created by university students in the 1990s as an alternative to Valentine’s Day for people without romantic partners. It falls on Nov. 11 because the date is written with four singles — “11 11.”
Alibaba, the world’s biggest e-commerce brand by total sales volume, adopted the day as a sales tool a decade ago. Rivals including JD.com and Suning joined in, offering discounts on goods from smartphones to travel packages.
E-commerce has grown rapidly in China due to a lack of traditional retailing networks and government efforts to promote internet use. Alibaba, JD.com, Baidu and other internet giants have expanded into consumer finance, entertainment and offline retailing.
On Monday, online retailers offered discounts on goods from craft beer to TV sets to health care packages.
Alibaba said sales by merchants on its platforms totaled 188.8 billion yuan ($27 billion) between midnight and noon. JD.com, the biggest Chinese online direct retailer, said sales reached 165.8 billion yuan ($23.8 billion) by 9 a.m.
Electronics retailer Suning said sales passed 1 billion yuan ($160 million) in the first minute after midnight. Dangdang, an online book retailer, said it sold 6.8 million copies in the first hour.
Alibaba kicked off the event with a concert Sunday night by Taylor Swift at a Shanghai stadium.
Chinese online spending is growing faster than retail overall but is weakening as economic growth slows and consumers, jittery about Beijing’s tariff war with Washington and possible losses, put off big purchases.
Online sales of goods rose 16.8% over a year earlier in the first nine months of 2019 to 5.8 trillion yuan ($825 billion), according to government data. That accounted for 19.5% of total consumer spending. Growth was down from an annual average of about 30% in recent years.
Nov.11 was Singles’ Day in China, the country’s busiest online shopping day of the year. More than 35 billion RMB was spent on two online platforms, Tmall.com and Taobao.com, which are owned by China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba. A total of 170 million transactions were made during the day.
The best way to lose money in the markets is to sell when you are scared and buy/hold when you are happy with your profits.
So it was for me a couple of days ago when bitcoin (BTC) was $9,500. I so wanted to close out 25% of my BTC and leave myself to run the rest, having taken out the cost of my position in cash and thereby run the rest as free carry. You can spin all sorts of narrative why that’s a smart idea or why that’s a dumb one, but the fall was the impetus and the desire to flee a normal human emotion. It is an instinct that traders and especially investors need to control.
Luckily, I’ve been playing the high risk game long enough to wait. When I want to sell an investment solely because it has dumped I wait at least two or three days before making such a move. If and when bitcoin hits $13,500, I will want to load up on more but I will likewise stop myself from buying into bullishness.
So I did nothing with my bitcoin and this happens:
Bitcoin jumped again on Monday
Once again doing nothing is the best move you can make with a good position.
So in my model, this is China and this is down to the trade war.
When bitcoin jumps, something bad has just happened in the U.S./China trade talks. We don’t know what it is, but soon enough we will find out.
Well today we get a Trump tweet and up BTC goes again. Yesterday, what happened? I guess whatever it was that made bitcoin pop, also left the U.S. president even more incandescent than normal.
This is still a theory, but it keeps on playing out. So what to do? In the short term the question is, is the China situation going to continue for long?
Continuation of the trade war means BTC up. The longer the war runs, the higher bitcoin will go.
For me it’s likely that the trade war is going to run and run. Both sides can’t buckle and like most wars, sides are prepared to take big losses, not to lose. This means holding through a rollercoaster ride of developments.
If we are in for a trade war of attrition, bitcoin will be above £20,000 by Christmas or sooner.
What we also have here if this theory is right is a gift to the extra greedy. When bitcoin flies, short the Dow, because when BTC flies, for no apparent reason, it is a high probability that something Dow slapping will come out of the trade war in a day or two’s time. While information may flow more slowly in the U.S., whatever goes wrong will nonetheless hit the U.S. equities market soon enough, but meanwhile the bad news will hit the Asia bitcoin market much sooner, about as long as it takes for the participants to get out of their meetings and past the revolving doors.
BTC down on Monday, should also give Dow up on a Tuesday and vice versa. Bitcoin is the gift that keeps on giving to traders.
Gold and the whole platinum group metals (PGM) will follow but at a much more refined and subdued pace; bitcoin delivering another leading signal to the stacker community or any trader that wants to play the dangerous game of levered commodities.
Signals like this don’t come by very often and can’t last for long, but while the stakes are in trillion dollar scale, quite a few million dollar crumbs are going to be left lying around the table.
I am the CEO of stocks and investment website ADVFN . As well as running Europe and South America’s leading financial market website I am a prolific financial writer. I wrote a stock column for WIRED – which described me as a ‘Market Maven’ – and am a regular columnist for numerous financial publications around the world. I have written for titles including: Working Money, Active Trader, SFO and Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities in the US and have written for pretty much every UK national newspaper. In the last few years I have become a financial thriller writer and have just had my first non-fiction title published: 101 ways to pick stock market winners. Find me here on US Amazon. You’ll also see me regularly on CNBC, CNN, SKY, Business News Network and the BBC giving my take on the markets.
Intelligent Investing is a contributor page dedicated to the insights and ideas of Forbes Investor Team. Forbes Investor Team is comprised of thought leaders in the areas of money, investing and markets.
China’s central bank will launch a state-backed cryptocurrency and issue it to seven institutions in the coming months, according to a former employee of one of the institutions who is now an independent researcher. Paul Schulte, who worked as global head of financial strategy for China Construction Bank until 2012, says the largest bank in the world, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the second largest bank in the world, his former employer, the Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China; two of China’s largest financial technology companies, Alibaba and Tencent; and Union Pay, an association of Chinese banks, will receive the cryptocurrency.
A separate source, who’s involved in the development of the cryptocurrency, dubbed DC/EP (Digital Currency/Electronic Payments), confirmed that the seven institutions would be receiving the new asset when it launches, adding that an eighth institution could also be among the first tier of recipients. The source declined to provide the name of the additional company. Speaking under terms of anonymity, the source, who previously worked for the Chinese government, confirmed that the technology behind the cryptocurrency has been ready since last year and that the cryptocurrency could launch as soon as November 11, China’s busiest shopping day, known as Singles Day.
At the time of launch, the recipient institutions will then be responsible for dispersing the cryptocurrency to 1.3 billion Chinese citizens and others doing business in the renminbi, China’s fiat currency, according to the source. The source added that the central bank hopes the currency will eventually be made available to spenders in the United States and elsewhere through relationships with correspondent banks in the West. “That’s the plan, but that won’t happen right away,” the source said.
The plan to use a diverse set of China’s trusted intuitions to disperse the cryptocurrency is reminiscent of a number of other ideas currently percolating around the world. For instance, Facebook’s planned libra cryptocurrency will be backed by a basket of currencies issued by central banks with support from companies like Mastercard and Uber in the United States, Vodaphone in England and Mercado Pago in Argentina. And last week, Bank of England governor Mark Carney floated the idea of a new currency backed by a number of central banks to replace the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency.
What sets China’s DC/EP apart from libra and Carney’s “synthetic hegemonic currency” (SHC), according to Shulte, is that while libra is little more than early-stage computer code and the SHC doesn’t appear to have gone much further than Carney’s mind, the Chinese cryptocurrency is ready to launch. “China is barreling forward on reforms and rolling out the cryptocurrency,” says Schulte, who now runs an eponymous bank research firm. “It will be the first central bank to do so.”
At the time of publication, neither the People’s Bank of China nor any of the seven institutions mentioned by Schulte had responded to Forbes requests to confirm or deny his claim. However, the two-tiered strategy, where the central bank creates the currency and others distribute it, aligns with previously unreported statements made by Mu Changchun, deputy director of the Paying Division of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the new head of China’s cryptocurrency research lab. In a speech on August 10 at the China Finance 40 Forum, since revised and posted on the PBOC’s WeChat channel, Mu described the central bank’s “two-tiered” system, wherein the bank would create the cryptocurrency and a small group of trusted commercial businesses would “pay the central bank 100% in full” to be allowed to distribute it.
In addition to preventing regional banks and other organizations from being disintermediated, Mu said the two-tiered system is designed to “curb” public demand for other cryptographic assets, consolidate China’s national currency sovereignty, ensure that the central bank maintains control over monetary policy affecting the currency, increase the likelihood of people using the currency, distribute the risk of having all the authority directly in the hands of the central bank and encourage competition between the organizations that receive the cryptocurrency.
“This dual delivery system is suitable for our national conditions,” said Mu. “It can not only use existing resources to mobilize the enthusiasm of commercial banks but also smoothly improve the acceptance of the digital currency.”
The composition of the organizations Schulte says will receive the DC/EP also aligns with Mu’s comments. Later in his speech, Mu added that only after the technical specifications for the DC/EP were completed in 2018 did the central bank realize the similarity between its design and that of libra, the cryptocurrency being developed by Facebook and about 30 other early-stage partners.
One key difference, according to Mu, is that while libra is being designed to handle 1,000 transactions per second, the DC/EP was designed to handle 300,000 transactions per second. For context, Mu added that during last year’s Singles Day the peak volume of all transactions in China was 92,771 transactions per second, dwarfing what the other platforms could support, but well within the DC/EP specifications. “At present, we belong to a state of horse racing,” Mu said according to the translation.
How Blockchain Went From Bitcoin To Big Business| 37:20
The DC/EP can achieve this kind of volume only because it is not a “pure blockchain architecture,” according to Mu, and therefore it doesn’t need to wait for groups of transactions to settle in a block. Like other permissioned blockchains that not anyone can use, the DC/EP is centrally managed, in this case by the central bank, meaning the digital currency remains a liability of the bank and the debtor/creditor relationship is unchanged, according to Mu. Also, instead of using an algorithm to limit supply, like bitcoin, Mu says the PBoC itself will control supply. Crucially, Mu says, the DC/EP is being designed to replace the physical notes and coins in circulation, not the renminbi sitting in bank accounts in a digital form.
“The central bank’s digital currency can be circulated as easily as cash,” said Mu. “Which is conducive to the circulation and internationalization of the renminbi.”
Whether anyone outside China would actually use a digital renminbi for transactions in their own country is unclear. As the Bank of England governor’s comments about replacing the U.S. dollar indicate, much of the world is tired of having their financial stability tied to the United States’ monetary system. But China may not be the best alternative. Earlier this month, as part of the escalating trade war between the United States and China, U.S. President Trump accused China of being a “currency manipulator.” After China’s renminbi fell to its lowest in 11 years, hitting 6.9225 renminbi per dollar on August 5, according to a Financial Times report, it has recovered significantly, trading at 7.15 renminbi per dollar today. While China has denied the charge and called the U.S. “protectionist” in a press statement, the perception of manipulation could be harmful to broader adoption of a digital currency linked to the renminbi.
In December 2017, another country accused of devaluing its currency, Venezuela, revealed plans for its own cryptocurrency, backed by oil and called the petro. After much hullabaloo, the currency somewhat officially launched in 2018, but it isn’t available on most international exchanges because of a U.S. embargo and has been almost impossible to accurately value. Another obstacle to adoption could be uncertainty about the benefits of a technology that’s intended to replace fiat currency but is still under centralized control. While it’s obvious that any central bank wishing to more closely observe how citizens are using a cryptocurrency would prefer a transparent ledger like the bitcoin blockchain, which makes transactions easily traceable, most of the benefits to users of current blockchains, such as instant settlement and digital transactions without the need of a middleman, could be undermined by central control.
One person who’s not concerned about the obstacles to adoption of China’s cryptocurrency is Charles Liu, chairman of HAO International, a private equity firm investing over $700 million in Chinese growth companies. After largely focusing on solar, organic fertilizer, and wastewater treatment technologies since 2012, Liu says he is an angel investor in “the first blockchain company to be able to sign an official contract with the People’s Bank” of China.
Liu declined to reveal the name of the firm or its technology but lent support to Mu’s comments about the potential benefits to businesses using China’s cryptocurrency. In addition to being a more efficient way to track money laundering, bribery and other transactions, Liu says, the cryptocurrency will give banks increased confidence in the creditworthiness of borrowers, let merchants receive payments instantly and lower transaction fees. While Liu says that banks in the United States have been resistant to such improvements that eat away at their bottom line, he adds that China doesn’t have that problem, because the government owns the banks.
“What will facilitate commercial transactions and enhance efficiency, the central government decides and they go ahead and do it,” says Liu, adding that “China’s strategic plan is to integrate more closely with the rest of the world. Cryptocurrency is just one of the means to have a more internationalized renminbi. It’s all strategic. It’s all long term.”
I report on how blockchain and cryptocurrencies are being adopted by enterprises and the broader business community. My coverage includes the use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple, and extends to non-cryptocurrency applications of blockchain in finance, supply chain management, digital identity and a number of other use cases. Previously, I was a staff reporter at blockchain news site, CoinDesk, where I covered the increasing willingness of enterprises to explore how blockchain could make their work more efficient and in some cases, unnecessary. I have been covering blockchain since 2011, been published in the New Yorker, and been nationally syndicated by American City Business Journals. My work has been published in Blockchain in Financial Markets and Beyond by Risk Books and I am regularly cited in industry research reports. Since 2009 I’ve run Literary Manhattan, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to showing Manhattan’s rich literary heritage.
In 2008, at least 54,000 Chinese babies suffered after ingesting formula that had been contaminated. Demand for safe products has grown year over year, every year, since then. Companies like blockchain-centric Techrock have capitalized on this market by finding unique solutions to the authenticity problem. Techrock uses the blockchain to track every step of a product’s lifecycle and rewards consumers for verifying it through their mobile phones.
Chinese Consumers Increasingly Willing to Pay a Premium for Authentic Imported Food
In China, it is reportedly difficult to get authentic products. Some researchers have found that more than 90% of the food sold in China is faked in one way or another.
For non-food products, this isn’t such a big deal; but there are some markets where it’s life and death – such as baby formula and other food products, which can have deadly side effects. According to Techrock, which spoke to CCN about their recent partnership with Rakuten, the situation has created a market for authentic goods as large as $60 billion per year.
Techrock uses blockchain technology in two aspects of its business. On the one hand, it offers a loyalty program for customers who use the service to purchase authentic products. On the other, it creates a permanent record of a product’s authenticity.
From Supply Chain to Reward Points, Blockchain’s Role
Every product in Techrock’s store has a digital representation on the blockchain. The company has developed a reputation for delivering high-quality, authentic goods, and it’s applying the same process to its Rakuten “zone.”
Their target market is less about authentic shoes or electronics and more about health supplements and other things which people prefer not to risk. The loyalty program helps them retain customers, and using the blockchain for it, the points have no expiration date. A side effect of Techrock’s Tael loyalty program is that it introduces many people to blockchain for the first time.
Techrock recently entered a partnership with Japanese retail giant Rakuten to get authentic Japanese goods to customers. Rakuten has long had an interest in blockchain companies, but it only touches the technology in a tertiary way here.
Rakuten is looking to expand its reach in China, where it is far from the leading retailer. By contrast, Alibaba is the boss in China – but Alibaba’seBay-style product suffers a lot of knock-off problems that the rest of the Chinese market does.
Built on Hyperledger, Techrock’s labeling technology ensures that products are real. The customer can verify this with an app on their phone, and once they do so, they earn their reward points at the same time. The rewards can be used to purchase more goods in the store, which encourages customers to keep using Techrock.
Techrock’s partnership with Rakuten means that Chinese customers don’t have to worry about fakes, and they have streamlined access to authentic, safe products. Techrock Co-Founder Alexander Busarov told CCN:
“We already sell in over 220 or 230 cities where our consumers are located. It’s all sent by the local dealer companies. We think our business will grow as the demand grows.”
China is reportedly the largest market for both food and firms that verify the safety of food. Consumers have been driven online as they continually lose trust in local vendors. Regulations and other issues make it such that local companies, like Techrock, will ultimately supply the demand.
Techrock’s partnership with Rakuten is notable because they’re the third to secure such a partnership – JD.com being one of the first – and they are built entirely on blockchain.
P. H. Madore has written for CCN since 2014 and is currently Head of Crypto. Please send breaking news tips or requests for investigation to [email protected] His website is http://phm.link
Chineseinsurance giant Ping An has partnered with Ethereum (ETH)-based decentralized artificial intelligence (AI) startup SingularityNET. The latter company announced the collaboration in a press release published on Medium on March 14.
Per the release, the collaboration will at first focus on Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Computer Vision (CV) and model training. SingularityNET notes that the scope of the partnership is expected to expand to multiple industries and initiatives in the future.
The announcement has been made shortly after SingularityNET officially launched a beta version of its Ethereum-based decentralized marketplace on Thursday, Feb. 28. In January last year, the company also announced a partnership with agriculture-focused blockchain startup Hara at the World Web Forum.
Ping An is reportedly the world’s most valuable insurance company, it serves 170 million customers, and ranked tenth in the Forbes Global 2000 list of world’s largest public companies. As Cointelegraph reported in November last year, Ping An and the Sanya municipal government also signed a strategic cooperation agreement for “Smart City” construction involving blockchain.
The press release notes that Ping An’s “One Minute Clinics” for medical consultations, which are unstaffed and use AI, are already in use in eight Chinese cities.
During the same month, Cointelegraph also reported that Ping An’s banking subsidiary Ping An Bank will launch a boutique bank using blockchain, cloud services and Internet of Things (IoT) tech.