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Alibaba is celebrating Singles Day again. The party may not last long

阿里巴巴再次迎来光棍节,派对可能不会持久



After 24 hours of frantic trading and weeks of promotional activities, Alibaba Group announced that its sales hit a record again during the Double 11 Shopping Festival (also known as Singles Day). Ten years ago, the Chinese e-commerce giant conceived the festival.

经过24小时的疯狂交易,以及此前持续数周的推广活动,阿里巴巴集团宣布,在双11”购物节(又称光棍节)期间,公司的销售额再次破纪录。十年前,这家中国电商巨头构想出这个节日。

With China's huge economic growth slowing down, Alibaba seems to be hosting a party on an iceberg's imminent ship.

随着庞大的中国经济增长放缓,阿里巴巴仿佛在一艘冰山迫在眉睫的大船上举办派对。

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Meanwhile, some young Chinese shoppers seem less enthused this year about celebrating manic consumerism.

与此同时,一些年轻的中国消费者今年似乎不太热衷于庆祝狂躁的消费主义。

Yang Sun, a 26-year-old from the northern city of Xi’an, said that the Singles Day discounts were no longer good enough to persuade her to wait all year to buy the things she wanted. Wang Xin, 24, an engineer in Shanghai, said he had rediscovered the joys of shopping offline.

26岁的杨荪来自北方城市西安,她说,“双11”的折扣不再足以说服她等待一整年去购买她想要的东西。24岁的王辛是上海一名工程师,他说他重新发现了线下购物的乐趣。

“Singles Day just doesn’t hold that much appeal for me,” Mr. Wang said

“所以‘双11’对我来说就更没啥意思了,”王辛说。

Asked about the current mood among Chinese consumers, Joseph C. Tsai, Alibaba’s executive vice chairman, told reporters on Sunday that Alibaba should be understood in the context of the epochal rise of China’s middle class.

当被问及中国消费者目前的情绪时,阿里巴巴执行副主席蔡崇信于周日告诉记者,应该在中国中产阶级划时代崛起的背景下来看待阿里巴巴。

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But Wall Street is still waiting for results, and has grown skeptical in the meantime of the costs of expanding into new areas. Alibaba’s shares have lost nearly one-third their value since June.

但华尔街仍在等待结果,对阿里巴巴进军新领域的成本越来越持怀疑态度。自6月以来,阿里巴巴股价已下跌近三分之一。

Singles Day 2018 showed that Alibaba remains, if nothing else, China’s king of hype. During the broadcast event, the M.C.s periodically encouraged people watching at home to open up their phones and check out the great deals. As acrobats with Cirque du Soleil twirled in midair, the logo of Kukahome, a Chinese furniture maker, shone brightly behind them.

2018年的“双11”表明,在中国,阿里巴巴就算不是别的,也仍然是炒作之王。在活动直播期间,主持人定期鼓励在家观看的人打开手机查看优惠。随着太阳马戏团的杂技演员在半空中旋转,中国家具制造商顾家家居的标识在他们身后闪闪发光。

At one point, the performer Liu Wei rapped out the specs of a new model of Skoda sport utility vehicle.

在一个节目中,表演者刘伟(音)用说唱爆出了斯柯达运动型多功能车新车型的规格。

Anna Lin, a 25-year-old who works in finance in Shanghai, said she was feeling more lukewarm about the whole thing than in years past. Singles Day is now just one of many big shopping festivals each year, she said.

25岁的林安娜在上海从事金融工作,她表示,与过去几年相比,她对整件事感到更加冷淡。她说,“双11”现在只是每年的众多大型购物节之一。

Plus, Ms. Lin said, the Singles Day promotions have become increasingly baroque. This year, there were coupons for specific items and brands, coupons that were available only at certain times of day, and coupons that appeared randomly and could be grabbed only by playing a game. Gathering friends into a team could help you collect even more coupons.

此外,林安娜说,“双11”的促销活动变得越来越繁琐。今年,有特定商品和品牌的优惠券,仅在一天中的某些时间可用的优惠券,还有随机出现的优惠券,只能通过玩游戏来获取。让朋友们聚成一个团,可以帮你收集更多的优惠券。

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The company’s methods for ginning up excitement have come under scrutiny before. Two years ago, Alibaba said that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating it for the way it reports Singles Day sales. The company’s preferred metric, gross merchandise value, is supposed to represent the amount of money that changes hands on its platforms. But there is no standardized way of calculating it.

该公司提高购物兴奋度的方法之前已受到详细审查。两年前,阿里巴巴表示,美国证券交易委员会(United States Securities and Exchange Commission)正在调查它报告“双11”销售额的方式。该公司的首选指标是商品总价值,应该代表在其平台上转手的金额。但是它没有标准化的计算方法。

The company has since de-emphasized the number. But the episode illustrated the way that Alibaba sees itself — as a company that breaks the mold.

该公司此后不再强调这一数字。但这件事说明了阿里巴巴将自己视为一家打破常规的公司。

Ever since Alibaba listed its shares in New York four years ago, the company has used a sense of manifest destiny to beguile investors, stock analysts and an eager news media. China was on the long road to middle-class prosperity, the company said, and Alibaba had the biggest tollbooth. A bet on Alibaba was a bet on China itself.

自阿里巴巴四年前在纽约上市以来,该公司一直使用一种明显的天命观来诱惑投资者、股票分析师和热切的新闻媒体。该公司表示,中国正走上中产阶级繁荣的漫长道路,而阿里巴巴则是这条路上最大的收费站。对阿里巴巴下注,就是对中国下注。

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Alibaba’s track record suggests that when the time comes, it will have no trouble pulling off another act of conjuring.

阿里巴巴的记录显示,到那个时候,它会毫不费力地完成另一套魔术戏法。

“I’m not worried about Alibaba at all,” said Steven Zhu, an analyst in Shanghai with the research firm Pacific Epoch. “These guys are really good at creating things from nothing.”

“我根本不担心阿里巴巴,”研究机构弘亚世代(Pacific Epoch)的上海分析师祝征宏说。“这些人真的擅长于从无到有创造事物。”