Chinese spend billions shopping online on 'Singles Day'

They include tennis player Maria Sharapova, soccer player Luís Figo, basketball player LeBron James, movie star Nicole Kidman and pop icon Jessie J, as well as popular local entertainers such as Zhang Ziyi and Li Yuchun.

Couriers and robots are expected to deliver an estimated 1.5 billion parcels over the next six days.

Currently, global purchasers are able to join the festival in China through its delivery arm Aliexpress that enables shoppers around the world to purchase goods from Chinese online merchants.

With those numbers, not Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Valentine's Day, can compete with Singles' Day as of yet.

While there is no definitive explanation on the origins of Singles' Day, it is believed by many to have been conceived in the 1990s as a day for China's legions of unmarried young adults to celebrate their lack of romantic commitments. The date was chosen because 11-11 resembles four "bare sticks", the Chinese term for bachelor.

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Since 2009, Alibaba has reaped the rewards of the day, with Chinese flocking to the site for 11/11 special offers. The yearly buying binge has become crucial for manufacturers and retailers across the country, accounting for a significant share of annual orders for many businesses.

But environmentalists complain of ecological harm, accusing Alibaba and other e-commerce companies of fuelling a culture of excessive over-consumption and mountains of waste.

More than 140,000 brands participate in 11.11 in 2017, offering 15 million products The Double 11 shopping event has more than 60,000 worldwide brands that will offer popular items from authentic autographed sports memorabilia to fresh foods and produce to half a billion Chinese consumers. Last year, there were 98,000.

It already has a substantial stake in Lazada, an online retailer in Southeast Asia - a hot e-commerce battleground - and recently launched an electronic trading hub in Malaysia, its first outside China.

This year, the world awaits whether it will break records again and reverberate throughout the world's e-commerce landscape.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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