Jack Ma (C), Chairman of Alibaba Group, giving the thumbs up in front of a screen showing transactions totalling RMB10 billion (1.46 billion euros) in the first 12 minutes 28 seconds of the Tmall 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in Beijing, China, 11 November 2015.

Macau | Locals also prepared for Singles’ Day

Macau (MNA) – Macau online shoppers are prepared to join the biggest e-commerce event of the world, Singles’ Day, to be celebrated on November 11.

For a whole week, Hoi Ian, a clerk in her late 20s working for a local casino operator, has been researching thoroughly what to buy when the clock strikes 12am tonight.

“I have been surfing on TaoBao for a week, but already had some ideas before,” she told Macau News Agency (MNA).

“Actually, I really had it in my mind for a month or so. And I postponed some purchases waiting for Singles’ Day,” she added.

When asked what types of products she is planning to buy, she said jokingly: “If I had enough money I would buy all TaoBao.”

She is not alone. The shopping fever will be unleashed in some hours, especially in mainland China. Citigroup Inc. estimates the event could generate a record RMB158 billion (US$24 billion) of sales, Bloomberg News reported.

According to Bloomberg, November 11 emerged as a counter-cultural antidote to the sentimentality surrounding Valentine’s Day. It takes its name from the way the date is written numerically as 11/11, which resembles “bare branches,” a local expression for the unattached.

It became an excuse to get consumers to shop when Alibaba started its online bargains bonanza in 2009. Since then, a raft of other sites from JD.com Inc. to VipShop Holdings Ltd. have jumped on board, and Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder and head of the company, now helms a live-streamed entertainment spectacle that showcases celebrities such as Daniel Craig, in an effort to reach international audiences.

Tonight’s event in Shanghai features tennis star Maria Sharapova and American rapper Pharrell Williams, among others, Bloomberg says.

Local fever

Last year, Alibaba recorded RMB121 billion (US$18 billion) in sales, BBC reported, adding that the firm said that 82 per cent of purchases had been made from smartphones.

Although the local shopping spree is dwarfed by mainland China’s figures, budgets for the event keep increasing.

Hoi Ian says she is planning to spend around MOP2,000 this year, MOP500 more than in 2016. Her work colleague, a resident of Hong Kong, where Singles’ Day is also popular, says that she has also increased her budget. Both claimed they will buy a bit of everything, from clothes to home appliances.

After all, and despite both of them being married, Singles’ Day happens just once a year.

[Edited by Sheyla Zandonai]