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Alibaba Leverage Blockchain in Tracing Over 400 Million Cross-Border Goods during Its 2019 Shopping Blitz

Chinese retail juggernaut Alibaba has leveraged blockchain technology in tracing more than 400 million cross-border commodities in this year’s Double 11 Shopping Festival.

“In the future, blockchain will transform life and business, just like mobile payment, and become the infrastructure of the digital economy,” commented Jiang Guofei, vice president of Ant Financial (affiliate FinTech company of Alibaba).

Alibaba turned China’s informal Singles’ Day into a shopping event in 2009 and built it into the world’s biggest online sales festival. The company said on Monday its gross merchandise volume (GMV) for the shopping blitz came in at 268.4 billion yuan ($38.4 billion), rising 25.7% from 213.5 billion yuan (about 30.45 billion U.S. dollars) in last year.

According to Jiang, the company has added ID marks on over 400 million cross-border imported goods via the blockchain technology, 2.7 times the number of last year, in an effort to ensure the authenticity of overseas commodities.

The retailer giant also uses blockchain technology in copyright protection, with 5 million goods’ images having been registered onchain, which prevents merchants on other platforms from misappropriation and infringement. In addition, blockchain integrated into supply chain finance helped over 30,000 small and micro businesses on its e-commerce platform to obtain supply chain loans.

Blockchain technology does have the potential to transfer and improve the e-commerce industry and many retailers and producers have applied or are beginning to apply it.

Last year, e-commerce behemoth Alibaba has leveraged blockchain in tracing 150 million overseas commodities on last year’s Double 11; JD.com, the second-largest e-commerce firm in the country has also launched a traceability and anti-counterfeiting platform last year. Ahead of this year’s Double 11, retail giant Suning has also introduced a blockchain-based traceability and anti-counterfeiting system targeting to fight fakes.

Chinese consumers are eager to buy foreign goods as they believe that foreign products are of a higher quality and are less likely to be counterfeit, especially when it comes to products like cosmetics, baby products and food. According to research firm eMarketer, Chinese consumers purchased $100.2 billion on goods from sellers in other countries in 2017.

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