Ecommerce giants Alibaba and JD.com have generated colossal combined orders of over $139 billion on Singles Day, but don't expect a lot of shouting — the Chinese government has cracked down on its tech giants in recent months.
The sales figures are up on last year's $115B last year, by 14 per cent in the case of Alibaba which likes to say it invented Singles Day but which can be more accurately described as co-opting the event. It was previously more of an ironic take on Valentine's Day — an opportunity for lonely singles to distract themselves with an unhealthy binge of consumerism.
In 2015 it became the largest shopping event in the world, overtaking Black Friday and it now swamps the US long weekend sales and has turned November into the world's largest month for retail sales.
Australian businesses, like Blackmores, Bubs baby formula and A2 milk for instance have made an artform of exploiting the opportunity to hit up the huge Chinese consumer market, and total Australian sales last year are said to have exceeded a billion dollars.
Companies like Alibaba and JD.com would normally crow about their Singles day achievement, but this year they are wary of upsetting the Chinese government which has been cracking down on the local tech sector.
In September vice minister Sheng Ronghua told the World Internet Conference, the government was worried about the "disorderly expansion of capital."
He told delegates, "We need to build a solid legal foundation for anti-monopoly efforts and prevent the disordered expansion of capital. “A sound data-management and trading mechanism will also be built.”
Furthermore, "We are looking to improve the regulations on shared economy and platform economy to safeguard their healthy growth,” Sheng said. “We are also looking to set up frames for the management of areas in autonomous driving, online health care and smart delivery.”