Singles’ day

A single company, called the Alibaba Group, in a single day, called the Singles’ Day, sold over 14 billion US dollars worth of items! That is 5 billion dollars more of what it sold last year on Singles’ Day. That is also greater than the GDP of many countries (including Sierra Leone). (The GDP of a country is the total value of all the products and services that are produced by the companies and the people of that country over a year.)

Alibaba is a Chinese online and mobile commerce company that has a bunch of Internet-based businesses. Amongst other things, the company allows people to purchase and sell products either online or using their mobile phones (like the American company Amazon and the Indian company Flipkart). It was launched in 1999 by Jack Ma (image).

Singles’ Day is celebrated in China every November 11 (11/11 – all ones for singles). It is a huge online shopping day in China. It is a holiday that was created in the 1990s by Chinese university students for people who were not married or didn’t have a partner. People buy things for themselves on this day (as opposed to Valentine’s Day, celebrated on February 14, when people buy gifts for their loved ones). Alibaba started promoting Singles’ Day as a big online shopping day in 2009. Many merchants offer deep discounts and great promotions luring customers to shop. Alibaba has helped make Single’s Day the world’s biggest online shopping day. This year, on the night of November 10, Alibaba organized a show to countdown to the start of the big shopping day. The show was broadcast on China’s national television, and even had an appearance by James Bond (actor Daniel Craig). Online companies other than Alibaba also sell discounted items on Singles’ Day.

Another huge online shopping day is in the United States called “Cyber Monday”. It is held on the Monday after the American holiday called Thanksgiving in November. Last year on Cyber Monday, Americans spent just over US$2 billion. Cyber Monday has become a shopping day in some other countries as well such as Canada and the United Kingdom.

Image Credits: www.weforum.org and Natalie Behring for Ma’s image, Alibaba Group for its logo, Chrionexfleckeri1350 for Singles’ Day image   
Sources: http://www.npr.org/, MarketWatch, http://www.alibabagroup.com/, ComScore Inc, fortune.com, CIA World Factbook