Singles Day: China's busiest online shopping holiday
BEIJING (AP) - Ms Lei Shujie, a designer in Shanghai, piled up a wish list for Sunday, a 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 - Ms Lei put off buying until Sunday when retailers promised discounts of up to 70 per cent. "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 jewellery to TVs to cars saw a marketing opportunity and launched Singles Day sales.