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China smashes sales records during its version of Black Friday

China smashes sales records during its version of Black Friday
Richard Lai
Richard Lai|@richardlai|November 11, 2015 7:11 AM

In the US there's Black Friday, but in China, they get all their big online shopping discounts on November 11 aka "Singles Day" instead. As of 4:28am ET today, Alibaba's Tmall, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon, has already made over $11 billion which broke last year's record of $8.97 billion. As reminded by our friends over at TechCrunch, both numbers from that platform alone beat the entire US' online sales of last year's Thanksgiving and Black Friday combined. It's no wonder Alibaba could afford to hire Frank Underwood Kevin Spacey and James Bond Daniel Craig to kick off this year's party.

Local tech brands that have a shop on Tmall also raked in impressive figures, with Xiaomi and Huawei leading with over $141 million as of 3:19am, followed by Meizu, Haier, LeTV, Gree and Hisense on the chart. Of course, there are other platforms that also offer Singles Day discounts, including Tmall's main competitor, JD, as well as various brands that offer their own deals via other channels. Even some companies in Hong Kong are jumping in on this trend, though to be honest, most of these are from Mainland China.

Alibaba is often credited as the first company to turn Singles Day into what it now calls the "Global Shopping Festival." According to an interview with People's Daily two years ago, Alibaba's first ever promotion to encourage single people to spoil themselves with online shopping was back in 2009. It only generated $8.17 million, which is merely a fraction of the $11 billion it made today. As to how Singles Day came to be, well, it should be noted that this isn't an official festival in China. Legend has it that this idea came from four roommates at Nanjing University back in 1993: They allegedly had lengthy discussions on how to get out of their single status, and they settled on the proposal of organizing a singles party on November 11, with the joke being it's all ones in the date. Get it?

[Image credit: Tmall]

China smashes sales records during its version of Black Friday