How technology powered Alibaba’s $38.4 bn sales on Singles’ Day

Alibaba Cloud has revealed how core technologies have powered Alibaba Group’s $38.4 billion sales during its 24-hour Singles’ Day shopping blitz. e-commerce sales
The X-Dragon architecture supported the e-commerce shopping event. Elastic Bare Metal Servers improved cost efficiency by 20 percent. X-Dragon servers integrate computing platforms, including the Elastic Compute Service (ECS) bare metal server and virtual machines, in a single architecture.

Alibaba Cloud handled scalability, processing USD1 billion of GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) in the first 68 seconds of the event; volume hit $10 billion of GMV in under 30 minutes. Alibaba Cloud’s infrastructure handled a record-shattering $38.4 billion of GMV in 24 hours with zero downtime.

Apsara Operating System, combining data processing and analytic capabilities with green technologies, processed around 970PB of data to support the peak performance of 544,000 orders per second, setting a record during 11.11.

POLARDB, a database developed by Alibaba Cloud, supported sales activity with a peak of 87 million requests processed per second. The cloud-native POLARDB database combines performance with compatibility and availability of traditional enterprise databases in a cost-effective manner.

Through self-developed green technologies, including liquid immersion and deep-water cooling, power consumption for every 10,000 e-Commerce transactions can be reduced to 2kWh. Overall data center energy consumption dropped 70 percent from last year, saving over 200,000 kWh on 11.11.

Thousands of Tmall merchants were upgraded to Tmall Flagship Store 2.0 storefronts before 11.11. Version 2.0 offers a unique user interface with a 3D Taobao avatar for customers to try on clothes and jewelry, further engaging customers via rich, interactive content and an omni-channel experience. The conversion rate per purchase was increased by over 20 percent from last year, serving 1,167 key brands’ flagship stores this year.

Alime Shop Assistant, a customer-service chatbot supported by Alibaba DAMO Academy’s machine learning technologies, handled 97 percent of online customer inquiries on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms Taobao and Tmall during 11.11. The virtual assistant also empowered hundreds of thousands of merchants on Alibaba’s platforms with intelligent customer services.

Alime answered questions during live broadcasts, extracting answers from pictures and responding conversationally. The Alime chatbot service offers 11 languages to support communications between global buyers and sellers.

Alibaba DAMO Academy provides enhanced machine translation technology for the cross-border e-commerce platform AliExpress. The technology can help small and medium-sized merchants globally to automatically translate their store and product pages into 21 languages, including Russian, Spanish, Turkish, French and Arabic, for buyers across Europe, Asia, America and the Middle East.

The machine translation service was used 1.66 billion times, with over 200 billion words translated in different languages during the shopping festival.

Taobao developed a real-time communications framework for audio and video on Alibaba Cloud. Network latency was reduced to 1.5 seconds from five to seven seconds, improving real-time interaction experience between broadcasters and users. Video AI identified products mentioned by broadcasters during live streaming, and audiences could view product links simultaneously displayed onscreen.

During 11.11, over one million orders were placed and processed through voice command via Tmall Genie, Alibaba A.I. Labs’ smart speaker.

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