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Single's Day madness means $5B in one hour for Alibaba

Single's Day is China's Black Friday, and e-commerce giant Alibaba reaps the benefits.

"Single's Day" may not ring any bells for you, but it's the world's biggest shopping day.


Jack Ma, Alibaba's chairman, must love Single's Day.

Sean Gallup, Getty Images

November 11, or Single's Day, is China's version of Black Friday. Alibaba, China's biggest e-commerce company, raked in $5 billion in the first hour alone, according to Reuters.

Last year, Alibaba pulled in $14 billion on the same day, with the first billion dollars earned in just eight minutes. Projections have the company earning over $20 billion today.

To put that into perspective, last year's Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales combined totaled a comparatively paltry $4.45 billion.

The origin of Single's Day is something that could only have happened in China. In a nutshell, in the mid 1990s, some enterprising folks decided that they could soothe the hearts of lonely singles by offering them the salve of retail therapy. Who needs a significant other when you can get a hundred bucks off sweet kicks?

The online version of the event launched in 2009 with just 27 participating merchants. In the years since then, it has skyrocketed in popularity.