Pop superstar Taylor Swift is cozying up to some of China’s biggest power players by agreeing to perform at an Alibaba promotional event for Singles’ Day, the country’s biggest shopping day.
Swift is expected to perform Nov. 10 in Shanghai at an annual live concert event that typically draws international pop stars and celebrities who are eager to lend their fame to help boost the visibility of Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce retailer.
Singles’ Day is China’s equivalent to Black Friday, a nationwide shopping spree that last year generated $30.2 billion in sales in a 24-hour period, according to Alibaba.
The e-commerce giant, co-founded by Jack Ma, is a major promoter of Single’s Day and has enlisted major stars to help jump start consumer enthusiasm. In past years, celebrities including actresses Nicole Kidman and Scarlett Johansson, as well as athletes Kobe Bryant and David Beckham have appeared at the annual concert event.
The multiple Grammy Award-winning @taylorswift13 will perform at Alibaba’s 11.11 Countdown Gala – a live show hosted by Alibaba’s video streaming platform Youku that runs in the hours leading up to the world’s biggest shopping day of the year. https://t.co/OEXXQI1Avh
— Alibaba Group (@AlibabaGroup) October 28, 2019
This year, Swift is expected to join a lineup of Asian stars including G.E.M., Lay Zhang, Hua Chenyu, and Kana Hanazawa.
The American pop singer signed a worldwide recording agreement last year with Universal Music Group. China’s Tencent has reportedly been in talks to acquire a 10 percent stake in UMG, which is owned by Vivendi.
Swift’s albums are immensely popular among Chinese consumers. Chinese sales of her latest album, “Lover,” even outpaced U.S. sales in its first week of release, with one million combined total streams, downloads, and sales.
While the U.S. entertainment industry was once eager to buddy up with China, their close business relationship has come under scrutiny in recent months in the wake of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.
Hollywood is facing criticism that it censors content in order to please China’s authoritarian Communist Party, which imposes strict controls on which foreign titles can be released locally.
Chinese companies like Alibaba operate in close cooperation with Beijing.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Alibaba was behind a popular digital app titled “Study to Make China Strong,” which feeds users Communist Party propaganda.