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Singles Day: China’s online shopping holiday

November 12, 2012 • Business


A man and woman participants who are singles chat during a matchmaking party organized by one of the biggest Chinese matchmaking websites in Shanghai, China on Sunday Nov. 11, 2012. Singles Day was begun by Chinese college students in the 1990s as a version of Valentine’s Day for people without romantic partners. The timing was based on the date Nov. 11, or “11.11″ — four singles. Unattached young people would treat each other to dinner or give gifts to woo that special someone and end their single status. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

BEIJING (AP) — Lei Shujie, a designer in Shanghai, piled up a wish list for the quirky holiday dubbed “Singles Day” that has grown into China’s — and possibly the world’s — busiest online shopping day.

Clothes, a pillow, a cabinet to give a friend — Lei put off buying until Sunday, when retailers promised discounts of up to 70 percent. “The prices are irresistible,” she said.

Singles Day was begun by Chinese college students in the 1990s as a version of Valentine’s Day for people without romantic partners. The timing was based on the date: Nov. 11, or “11.11″ — four singles. Unattached young people would treat each other to dinner or give gifts to woo that special someone and end their single status.

That gift-giving helped to turn it into a major shopping event as sellers of everything from jewelry to TVs to cars saw a marketing opportunity and launched Singles Day sales. It is China’s answer to Cyber Monday in the United States — the day after Thanksgiving weekend, when online Christmas shopping begins and merchants have their busiest sales day.

Companies that rushed to cash in on the holiday ranged from Login to read more

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