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It's Kinda Weird How Much People Adore The Inventor Of "Singles Day"

Kowtowing to a portrait of Jack Ma to bring good sales is actually a thing now.

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Just as the clock hit midnight on Nov. 11, millions of Chinese shoppers hopped on, the website of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba to check out the shopping carts they've been hoarding for almost a month.

Str / AFP / Getty Images

Jack Ma Yun, Chairman of Alibaba Group, reacting during the 2015 Tmall 11.11 Global Shopping Festival gala in Beijing

Cooking oil, instant noodles, sanitary napkins – basically anything they could possibly think of using for another year, as prices of everything drop to their lowest point as part of China's so-called "Singles Day."

Eighteen seconds later, the site hit 100 million yuan ($15 million) in sales.

Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters

Journalists look at a screen showing total value of goods transacted at Alibaba Group's 11.11 Global shopping festival in Beijing, China, November 12, 2015. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's total value

Then 5 billion yuan ($800 million) in less than six minutes. Fifty billion ($8 billion) in 10 hours. And finally, the day sales record froze at a ridiculous number: 91.217 billion yuan, or $14.32 billion. The sales record of Black Monday of the U.S. has already been surpassed last year.


The number is a 60% increase to the sales record from last year, and 1753 times as much as the sales in 2009, when Alibaba CEO Jack Ma first opted to harness the joke holiday "Singles' Day" and promote sales in the dullest month of the year.

Ma didn't hold back his emotion at the Global Shopping Festival held in Beijing to honor Singles' Day, a gala show where household names such as Daniel Craig and Kevin Spacey boost promotion and he dearly calls the consumers "'shopaholics."

The Chinese mock him as "ET-looking," but that hasn't prevented him becoming an absolute idol. It's enough that Ma is turned into a popular meme, in a country where photoshopped image memes aren't that wide-spread yet.


They roast suckling pigs, pay “him” tribute and bow down, treating him as a respected ancestor or a Chinese Buddhist-style god, just to wish for a couple of things: no returns of goods, no negative comments, and fast storage clearance, etc.


Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.

Contact Beimeng Fu at

Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Hayes Brown at

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