Singles’ Day: Alibaba shoppers ready to mingle on ‘Double Eleven’ – Al Jazeera English

Singles’ Day: Alibaba shoppers ready to mingle on ‘Double Eleven’ – Al Jazeera English

SHORT ANSWER

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd turned China’s anti-Valentine’s Day into an enormous global shopping event. How will Singles’ Day fare in a COVID-19 world?

Singles’ Day kicked off Wednesday in Asia and is expected to rake in significant profits for online retailer Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

That is good news for the e-commerce giant, which lost $76bn of its market value last week after the Chinese government suspended the much-anticipated IPO of Alibaba’s financial arm, Ant Group.

But what is the backstory behind the festival known as “Double Eleven,” and why do people celebrate it by buying tonnes of stuff? Here is what you need to know.

First of all, what does ‘Double Eleven’ have to do with single people?

The festival’s name is tied to the date – November 11 – but 11/11 also looks like four single people standing in a line. And the pronunciation of all of those elevens in Mandarin sounds similar to an idiom that means “a whole lifetime” or “all my life.” Cue the sappy music.

That is a little gentler than the day’s alternate name, “Guang Gun Jie”  (“Bare Sticks Day”) which is a play on the numbers themselves and the idea that single people are lonely sticks that do not add to the family tree. Ouch.

Yikes. So why do single people get their own day?

Come on, they have bought enough wedding presents for their married friends over the years, so why not?! But in all seriousness, the story goes that Singles’ Day
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