Singles’ Day is literally the Black Friday of the Orient. But it takes place on a much larger scale than that economic day of regeneration celebrated so vibrantly in the Occident.
Singles’ Day sales are going to break all previous records this time around. Especially Alibaba’s stint at the November 11th session of the surge in economic activity will be phenomenal. The Chinese love the Internet and they have proven that anything is possible in Cyberspace. As for the retail therapy that the once-a-year event will fulfill, it will leave several billion people very happy and at peace. It is not for nothing that the word “money” has the word “one” in its center.
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It is indeed a source of at-one-ment. Singles’ Day is given the epithet of 11/11. And while it was originally supposed to be an opportunity for the youth of the nation to revel in their being so young and free, in fact it has been transformed into the widest possible online shopping event that takes place round the clock on a worldwide level and not just in China or the East.
The previous year Alibaba had a $5.8 billion profit accruing to it in its revenues from deals that got settled thanks to this day of deliverance of sorts. This year though the profits for Alibaba will skyrocket to a whopping $8.17 billion. E-commerce has already started to aim high and has hitched its ride to a star. All eyes are on the prize which is the number of transactions and total sales volume. It is indeed a day for entrepreneurs and other heroes of economic life to get their freak on (and that is meant literally). And while the deals are many and lucrative for the sellers, the buyers have to beware lest they bust their wallets.
The addictive high that comes from buying tons of goods and shopping till you drop can get to you. It is like the first rush of cocaine and may in fact have similar effects that will end in financial ruin through a gambler-like mentality that spends more than it earns. For many people though it is a day that is full of work, work and then some more work that leaves them bone tired. Consumerism is at its peak as people from more than 220 nations participate in one of the most humongous gathering of econo-warriors that has ever graced the face of the planet.
It is basically a sort of anti-Valentine’s Day since instead of lamenting their singlehood and pining for love most of the youngsters are celebrating their status as single and loving every single second of it. So what if they are not married…they can purchase anything they want at a discount. And this day is proof that Alibaba controls the world. The sales that take place via this online site on Singles’ Day are in excess of Black Friday and Cyber Monday which are pretty big spending days in the West.
It is also called One’s Day and in Chinese it is termed Guang Gun Jie. Pop culture is what the 24 hours are all about and the youth of the Communist country celebrates the day with lots of camaraderie and jovial merriment. There is a sense of hope that there is much more to China and Chinese culture than Tiannamen Square and Mao’s Red Book. The land is the home of other things such as martial arts, religions as Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism and some very spiritual concepts as Wu-Wei and Feng Shui not to mention Chinese Medicine which is the strongest alternative to the simplistic Western Medical Model.
Basically, as China and India emerge as major players on the global scene, their middle classes will carry clout since they are the largest on earth. The phenomenon is called “Chindia”. And while India is dependent on its film industry and IT, China is famous for its technology and infrastructure. It is indeed an economic behemoth and leviathan. The gargantuan Chinese economy eclipses many big guns on the Asian landscape. And it is expected that an Asian civilization will replace the current Western one sometime within the next one hundred years. But we digress when we consider such topics of interest. They are future scenarios and the future is very unpredictable.
For now the singles eat deep fried dough sticks on the day in China to celebrate their happy-go-lucky lives as testosterone-laden lads and barmy girls whose lifeblood are Mills and Boon romantic novels. Eastern sensibility and respect not to mention propriety and tradition dictate that things not go too far as they often do in the West. While friends often dine out on this day in China, they also tend to follow the American System and pay for their meals since it is every man (or woman) for himself (or herself).
Movies, popcorn, eve-teasing, adam-teasing and gathering together for a fun time are normal activities. But no troublemaking occurs. Emails of good wishes often get sent between friends as a token of support and bonhomie. The fact that dating takes place is not shocking since it takes place surreptitiously. The parcels of goods that get delivered on this day cause hassles for the delivery system. The tax avoidance issue inevitably crops up since so many parcels cause the system to go into glut. Amazon and other foreign e-commerce sites enter the equation and so a spanner is thrown in the Chinese system.
Among some of the best deals in goods in the market are:
- Instant-kill Deals,
- HTC smartphones,
- Asus laptops,
- Chuanghong LED TVs,
- Lindt chocolates,
- Imported nuts,
- crackers and teas,
- Dove showering kit,
- 4-day voyage to Japan,
- Flyco electric razor and
- Corona bottles.
The day serves as a fillip for the economic health of the national economy of China and by extrapolation that of the entire world. It is business cycles that make the world go round and if people stopped spending and selling everything would go topsy turvy and the global economic system made by men would collapse like a house of cards.
The whole inspiration began with seeing the West rake in the profits via its Black Friday. They are the ones who actually started the economic and cultural game of oneupmanship. When you see the fact that Western Man has up until now gone into the inner machinations of each culture and turned it inside out and upside down, you realize that it was just a matter of time before these cultures be they Indian, Middle Eastern or Chinese would have an equal and opposite effect on the West.
It might at present be a case of the West and the Rest, but in the future Western Civilization will in its very universalization lose its western status and become one with the world which will then undergo other unforseen transformations. To think that a single culture will rule the world is a stupid absurdity and short-sighted thinking of the highest order for such a state of affairs would amount to a totalitarian dictatorship.
That is why when we see Singles’ Day being festively celebrated in China and the other countries, we must not forget that behind all the happiness and fun-loving nature is a more subtler and shrewd game plan…and that is to conquer through culture and gain the upper hand as far as influencing the Zeitgeist is concerned. According to the law of averages what goes up must come down. Today it is Western Man who has the world in the palm of his hand. Tomorrow it may be China or even India seeing the nature of current change which is so rapid and kaleidoscopic. Nothing lasts forever, not even the high and mighty dollar. Only time - the magician - will tell where the dice may fall.
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We can only wait and see…