Alibaba’s Double 11 shopping frenzy broke last year’s record at the half way mark, bringing in a total of RMB 168.2 billion (USD 25 billion).
The annual Singles’ Day event is now four times bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two biggest shopping days in the United States.
Thought to have first been started by a lonely bachelor at university in the 1990s, the November 11 shopping event is now mainly promoted by Tencent’s Alibaba Group, which offers discounts and one off deals, such as a lifetime supply of baijiu for RMB 1,111 (USD 167), across its platforms.
The date was chosen because of the large amount of lonely 1s in 11/11. Other e-commerce companies across China also offer sales on the date.
Alibaba flew Australian actress Nicole Kidman and US musician Pharrell Williams to Shanghai for the televised opening of the gala.
This year, online shoppers spent 40% more than last year, shelling out USD 1 billion in the first two minutes and reaching 2016’s total in just 13 hours of 24.
However, not everyone is loving Double 11. Greenpeace branded it a "catastrophe for the enviroment", pointing out that the event produced 258,000 tonnes of C02 emissions in 2016.
Labor groups also say it results in the extreme overwork of China’s deliverymen.
Shanghai has been named China’s top city for expats and business, followed by Guangzhou and Beijing.
The year just gone was packed with happenings, big and small, in China. Some were good, but a whole lot were bad. Let’s have a look at China’s big news events of 2017.
The Chinese website of Marriott International has been shut down and an employee sacked after two incidences of the hotel chain “disrespecting China’s sovereignty”.
Good news for non-Chinese readers who get lost easily. Google Maps are available in China again!
International tourists transiting through Beijing can now enjoy visa-free stopovers of up to six days.
US coffee giants Starbucks is opening a new store in China every 15 hours.
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