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Asian trade bloc creates annual regional online shopping festival as plague-popping economic prod

ASEAN to throw big sale on August 8th – a super-lucky day according to Chinese numerology

The ten-state Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) trade bloc has decided that a regional internet splurge can help the region rise from plague-induced economic torpor.

ASEAN’s members are Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Laos, which together are home to 649 million people. The bloc has a combined GDP of $3.0tr and as it operates as a single market touts itself as effectively the world’s fifth-largest economy.

But of course that economy is currently doing quite poorly: Singapore alone recorded a 12.6 per cent GDP fall in the second quarter of the year.

Enter ASEAN Online Sale Day (AOSD), an August 8 event that ASEAN ministers yesterday announced [PDF] and pitched the event as follows.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce has been a bright spot of growth as consumers and businesses increasingly turn online. The inaugural AOSD seeks to further boost these trends and encourage consumers and businesses to actively interact and conduct commercial transactions on reputable and secured emarketplaces or platforms operating across the region.

Another motive for the day is to increase uptake of e-commerce by businesses and consumers alike, and normalising e-commerce within the bloc.

Ministers have declared 2020’s AOSD is the first in what is planned to be an annual event, with this year’s spree to offer valuable lessons for future sales splurges.

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Just how the day will work has not been explained. At the time of writing the AOSD web site includes links to participating e-tailers. Shoppers have been promised deep discounts and other special offers on the day.

Speaking of the day, picking August 8th for AOSD is surely no co-incidence as it is the eighth day of the eighth month. Eight is the luckiest number in Chinese numerology because it is pronounced “Ba” which is close to “Fa,” a word that means making a lot of money. The large Chinese diaspora across ASEAN will notice the choice of day immediately and perhaps see it as an extra reason to splash some cash. ®

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