Singles Day shopping frenzy

Alibaba’s annual Singles Day sale is almost an institution in China.

You would not believe that this is only nine years old. It was originally conceived as a good excuse to increase sales.

It is celebrated every Nov. 11, which if you may note, is written as 11.11.

Somebody had the bright idea that it stood for four single people standing, and Alibaba started to promote that day by holding a sale--something like an anti-thesis of Valentine's Day.

This year, it set a record sale of US$30.7 billion in just one day. This is significant because this is almost half of the year’s total exports for the Philippines, and this is set by one company doing e-commerce in just one day. It was so popular that in less than 1.5 minutes when they started the sale, it hit over $1 billion in sales.

It even eclipsed the famous Black Friday. Black Friday is a huge sales day in the United States. Almost every store in the US gives special discounts since it comes the day after Thanksgiving on the third week of November, usually signaling the start of the Christmas shopping season. But it seems Singles Day is even bigger–-this year’s sales was almost thrice what Black Friday and the Cyber Monday sold in the US.

China has been very aggressive in trying to outdo the United States in almost every aspect. One of the things that is headed in China’s favor is the honor of having the fastest supercomputers in the world. Currently, the United States owns the two fastest ones.

Last year, the world’s fastest computer was from China and was called Sunway TaihuLight. However, a few months back, it became the second fastest when IBM’s Summit computer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory claimed the top spot. Now another computer named Sierra in Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Weapons Research became the second fastest, which drove the Chinese supercomputer to number three.

Still, China continues to compete very aggressively. Out of the 500 world’s fastest computers, 227 are from China while only 109 are from the US.


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