Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group, attends a show during Alibaba Group's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival in Shanghai, on November 10. Photo: Reuters/Aly Song

While people are curious to know whether any of Alibaba Group transactions on the recent Double 11 or Singles’ Day were fake, the public has been told at least 4,092 orders were not real and thus were not recorded.

China’s biggest e-commerce company set a record for e-commerce transactions on Saturday of 168 billion yuan (US$25 billion), up about 40% from 120.7 billion yuan on the same day in 2016. Fortunately, it excluded the inflated transactions of a China-based aeroplane supplier. Otherwise, the figure would have been seriously distorted.

Jiangsu Quanyi Aviation Technology told media it had received 4,093 orders of online purchases totaling 969 trillion yuan, which is 5,767 times more than Alibaba’s one-day record on Saturday, according to the Yangtze Evening News.

The company said it put pictures of its products, including jet planes, hot-air balloons and helicopters, on Taobao.com, Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, but only for promotional purposes and it did not expect to get online orders as each product worth millions of yuan.

But a strange thing happened when Wang Ping, the general manager of Quanyi Aviation, started receiving orders at 8pm on Friday, before the big shopping festival kicked off at midnight.

“My handset rang like a bomb. Orders amounting to an eight-digit figure in value each kept coming in,” Wang told Xinhuanet.

Wang realized very soon that his online shop on Taobao had become a target of visits by netizens, who wanted to show off by telling friends that they had purchased an aeroplane. Wang knew clearly that these people would not complete the transactions, so he took advantage of the activity to promote his company and website by launching a one-day “Buy an aeroplane” online campaign.

Within hours, some 150,000 people visit Quanyi’s website. In 12 hours, the company received 2,780 orders totaled 169 billion, as netizens went crazy sharing photos of their order receipts on social networks as they pretended to be billionaires.

By 5:30pm on November 11, Quanyi had received 4,093 orders totaling 969 trillion yuan. Some netizens may have purchased tens or hundreds of aircraft in each order.

Quanyi obviously “outperformed” Boeing Co, which received an order of 300 planes worth 245 billion yuan from Beijing during US President Donald Trump’s visit to China last week.

After a fun day on Saturday, Wang not only won free promotion for his company in China, but also a real order.

Wang said a man from Nanjing bought a second-hand helicopter for six million yuan – a 60% discount from the original price of 15 million yuan. But that legitimate deal was included in the total transactions that were part of this year’s Double 11 festival.

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