In West Hollywood, California, seven same-sex couples from China will get married on Tuesday. The group wedding is part of a promotion by the e-commerce giant Alibaba, and its online shopping site Taobao.
China doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages, but still, marketing to the LGBT community could make a lot of sense. Its purchasing power is reportedly in the neighborhood of $300 billion.
“There’s less of a risk in China than in other parts of the world,” says Bob Witeck, head of Witeck Communications, which specializes in marketing to LGBT communities.
The promotion may be about more than appealing to Chinese consumers. Says Witeck, “they see an opportunity to bridge to the American economy.” And the American economy is an economy that decidedly interests Alibaba.
“Any smart businessman would probably want to follow suit,” said Charlie Gu, director of China Luxury Advisors, a consulting firm that helped organize the event.
And Alibaba is following the lead of many American tech companies.
Update: According to a GLAAD official helping to organize the event, seven couples will be married Wednesday after the other three had issues getting travel visas. The text has been updated.
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