Jack Ma Turns Singles Day Into 11/11 Shopping Discount Day, On Today's History, November 11, 2009
Illustration (Source: Unsplash)

JAKARTA - On November 11, 1993, a group of students at Nanjing University, China, decided that instead of mourning his singleness, they celebrated his loneliness. Since then November 11 in China is known as Singles Day, even slowly the whole world is also commemorating it as Singles Day.

Citing National Today, he chose November 11 or 11/11 because the number 1 represents an individual or one person. Meanwhile, the number 11 means two individuals who found each other and were together on a special date. So it completely means the celebration of two or more couples, each consisting of two single individuals, who find each other on a special date.

Several universities then organize special programs to bring singles together for the celebration. Initially, many students were annoyed or self-deprecating in response to her continued singleness. But the university's initiative has helped them get rid of that negativity.

Although this date is meant to celebrate singleness, the desire to find a partner or partner is often expressed by young Chinese children. While other love-related issues are discussed by the Chinese media during Singles Day. On Singles Day, there are generally funny and harmless incidents. For example, one person reserved two seats in a movie theater and there was a ban on couples sitting next to each other during the screening of Beijing Love Story, a famous romantic film in China.

Singles will also look for a restaurant as luxurious and delicious as possible for themselves. Slowly, November 11th became an unofficial holiday and became a big celebration for singles.

Illustration (Unsplash/Dollar Gill)

They do a variety of entertainment, including shopping. On November 11, many singles in China are shopping for various items such as bags, shoes, clothes, or whatever they want. This phenomenon is also seen by the founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, as a great opportunity to grab the coffers of the yuan.

On November 11, 2009, for the first time, Alibaba gave a big discount. The discount will be available 24 hours, starting exactly at midnight on November 11. Alibaba provides discounts for a variety of local and international brands, both those who shop at in-store and online stores.

At that time, Alibaba even offered discounts of up to 50 percent to customers from more than 25 brands. That first day of shopping brought in about $7 million in sales by the end of the day.

Year after year, more brands and customers seem eager to participate as Alibaba grows. In 2019, gross merchandise value, or figures representing sales across Alibaba's shopping platforms, surpassed a record 213.5 billion yuan in 2018, to 268.4 billion yuan in 2019.

During the big discount, Alibaba also held a lavish gala which made shopping on November 11 a fantastic thing. In previous years, right before the COVID-19 pandemic, famous stars such as Taylor Swift and Pharrell Williams performed at the gala.

Chinese conglomerate Jack Ma. (Wikimedia Commons/Foundations World Economic Forum)

Welcomed more simply

For November 11, 2021, Alibaba will feature a virtual performance of British actor Benedict Cumberbatch and as usual on a 24-hour discount. Cumberbatch is the highest-profile overseas celebrity to appear at Alibaba's events to welcome the shopping moment, even if only virtually.

For this year, Alibaba's shopping moments were also not heavily promoted. That's because Alibaba is under strict regulatory scrutiny that "prioritizes environmentally friendly consumption" and "respects people who are vulnerable or deprived."

Citing Reuters, more than 200 luxury brands participated in this year's event which also offered more than 100.000 new products. The number of shoppers ordering during the first sales window for luxury goods jumped 40 percent over the previous year.

Alibaba's 11.11 shopping event this year ended China's tightening of regulations in industries where Alibaba is often a target. Alibaba was fined up to 17.9 billion yuan for being accused of having a monopoly attitude. Jack Ma himself has long been out of public view after criticizing Chinese regulators a year ago.

*Read other information about TODAY's HISTORY or read other interesting articles from Putri Ainur Islam.



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