Monday, November 13, 2017

Double 11: The Annual Chinese Black Friday Event

By Asia Pop Culture

Double 11 is also known as Chinese Singles' Day or Bachelor's Day (光棍節). The date, November 11th (11/11), is chosen because the number "1" resembles 光棍, an individual that is alone. This was a marketing idea originated by Alibaba with the aim of creating a shopping festival in between National Day at the start of October and New Year’s Eve.

The original pitch of big discounts to cheer up lonely singles made it popular among college kids. Then it just took off with the increasing consumer income level and the popularity of online shopping.  This festival has now become the largest offline and online shopping day in the world. Today, Double 11 is viewed mainly as a shopping event, similar to the Black Friday in the U.S. which happens on the day after Thanksgiving.  Similar to Valentine's Day, Father's Day, Secretary Day, etc. in the West,  Double 11 is in essence a "made-up festival" out of thin air by retailers to boost consumer buying.

This year, Alibaba created history by earning $25 billion in 24 hours, during its flagship event through Alipay. Company official noted Alibaba Cloud processed 325,000 orders per second at peak. This was the eighth edition of the 11.11 global shopping festival and had about 140,000 brands participate in it including 60,000 international brands.

Singles' Day is also an occasion for single people to party together. On that party note, during the Double 11 event this year, Jiang Xiaobai, a Chongqing-based online retailer, reportedly was offering a lifetime’s supply of liquor for a one-off payment of US $1,674 limited to the first 33 lucky customers on a first-come, first-served basis.

I guess whoever took this offer seems to be expecting a lifetime of drowning in sorrows for being single?

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