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  • 11.11.16

It’s Singles’ Day in China and Alibaba is making a killing

Today, November 11 (11/11), is China’s National Singles’ Day. The celebration of singleness appears to have started organically in 1993, when students at Nanjing University invented the day largely as a reason to buy themselves presents, much like couples exchange gifts during Valentines Day.

But it’s evolved into one of the largest days for online shopping. Over the last three years, Alibaba’s consumer sites have generated sales of $5.8 billion, $9.3 billion, and $14.3 billion respectively. Today, an hour into the event, sales hit $5 billion and 15 hours in, they had topped $13.4 billion; 85% of these purchases are now being made on mobile phones. (S0me have questioned the veracity of these figures because they are self-reported.)

There’s also a televised gala to celebrate the event. This year’s performers included One Republic, Kobe Bryant, and the Beckhams. Katy Perry had to withdraw due to a family emergency.

[Photo: Alibaba Group]ES