No Lonely Hearts on Alibaba's Singles' Day

A day that will never be forgotten, 11/11, which also marks the November 11th armistice that ended World War I, is also now known in China as the biggest retail of the year, if not the world. It’s basically China’s Black Friday just more massive, like “crazy, rich, Asian”-style massive. For starters, the bonanza kicked off festivities with a Taylor Swift concert and generates some serious coin – you know... just about 30 billion dollars. 

 

The Chinese e-commerce powerhouse earned more than 215 billion yuan ($30.7 billion) during its Singles’ Day bonanza, topping last year’s record, only two thirds of the way into the shopping marathon. According to Alibaba, a main international rival of U.S. e-commerce Amazon, sales reached 100 billion yuan after just one hour. 

 

It’s called Singles’ Day because of the number 11, conjuring the song “One” made famous by classic rock band Three Dog Night. “One is the loneliest number” ... but apparently in China, nobody can be lonely when there is a spending spree afoot and one is enjoying crazy discounts. 

 

According to Bloomberg, tension between Washington and Beijing are high, yet companies like Alibaba are equipped to buck that trend, thanks to booming online consumption in the world’s No. 2 economy. 

 

Alibaba said it expects 500 million people to participate in the 2019 festival. It made $30 billion on Singles’ Day last year. 

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