INTERNATIONAL - Taylor Swift will headline Alibaba’s Singles’ Day next month in Shanghai, turning her considerable star wattage on the world’s largest annual online shopping spree.
By most measures the biggest recording star on the planet, Swift is the highest-profile act to feature at Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Nov. 11 extravaganza since its inception over a decade ago.
She joins celebrities from Chinese singer G.E.M. to Japanese voice actress Kana Hanazawa in Shanghai mere months after wrapping a similar Prime Day celebration for Amazon.com Inc.
Alibaba co-opted Singles’ Day -- an unofficial campus holiday for the unattached -- and turned it into a national showcase for online bargains, netting more than $30 billion of sales over a 24-hour period in 2018. Swift, who succeeds the likes of Mariah Carey and Nicole Kidman on Alibaba’s stage, will be throwing her weight behind China’s largest and perhaps best-known corporation at a time Washington is trying to contain the Asian nation’s ascendancy.
The 29-year-old, whose “Lover” sold better initially in China than in the U.S., underscores Alibaba’s effort to take its signature event global. Two of Swift’s previous albums, “1989” and “Reputation,” were both certified for over 1 million copies consumed in China. That’s despite a brief controversy over the title of the former collection, which some took to be a reference to the Tiananmen crackdown of the same year, a politically charged and heavily censored event.
Alibaba said in a statement Monday Swift will feature in a televised and livestreamed concert in the run-up to the start of 24-hour promotions. More than 200,000 brands will take part this year, offering a million new products. More than 500 million people are expected to participate -- about 100 million more than last year, according to the statement.