Singles’ Day Breaking Sales Records, Not Hearts

In China, it pays to be single.

The country is known for Singles’ Day sales, similar to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States—but bigger.

Within the first three minutes of the e-commerce giant Alibaba’s 24-hour sales spree, the company saw people crunch out 10 billion yuan or $1.5 billion. Alibaba is looking to break even more records. Last year, the day’s sales reached a total three times more than the combined sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S.

Joe Tsai, co-founder and vice-chairman of Alibaba Group, told reporters that 60,000 of the 140,000 brands taking part this year are foreign brands, up 40 percent from last year. Single shoppers from around the world can buy from Chinese merchants online through the company’s Aliexpress wing.

Alibaba is also kicking off the event with a four-hour long TV show filmed in Shanghai. It will feature a horde of international celebrities including Nicole Kidman, LeBron James and Zhang Ziyi. It is being broadcasted live and streamed online.

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