China’s economic rebalancing towards more consumer-oriented growth has global businesses cautious, but pessimists need only look at the country’s annual e-commerce event for a powerful reminder of consumer buying power.
Created by a group of young Chinese in the 1990s, the holiday known as Singles Day was originally a way to celebrate single life. Held on November 11 every year, it’s popularly described as "China’s anti-Valentine’s Day".
As the holiday acquired nation-wide popularity, Alibaba became the first major company in 2009 to monetize the holiday by launching a special online sale and effectively transforming the day into the world’s biggest 24-hour online shopping event, one that reflects the growing wealth of China’s middle-class. Other e-commerce players like JD.com have since begun offering their own Singles Day sales too.