Chinese consumers swarm online sales event

Nov. 13, 2012 at 5:24 PM
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BEIJING, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Chinese shoppers spent $320.9 million in little more than an hour as the online store began a one-day sales event, the company said.

By the end of the day, 10 million customers had besieged the Internet retailer, which was hosting a 50-percent off day, Xinhua reported Monday.

The online event was held to commemorate "Single's Day," in China, Xinhua said.

Reportedly, Single's Day was invented by a college student as an anecdote for Valentine's Day. It is intended to honor those without romantic partners on Nov., 11, the date chosen because numerically, it is 11.11, which can be said to mean "for singles."

As the day progressed the sales figures escalated. Before 12 hours were up, $1.265 billion had been spent.

The store then reached its $1.6 billion sales target for the day within 14 hours of the 24-hour event.

"It's been too hustle and bustle. The scale has exceeded the daily volume, which has brought great challenges to our system," said Wu Liying, a bank employee who worked through the night to make sure the banking system tied to the event did not collapse.

The system, however, did fail for 45 minutes very early in the morning in two branches -- Sichuan Province and Beijing.

Jing Linbo, researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said the event "shows the potential of China," as a domestic market.

"China's economy cannot only count on exports, which is still hard to predict, while investment is influenced by policies and macroeconomic environment," he said.

"Thus, domestic demand carries more expectation to stimulate China's economy, Jing said.

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