As the name suggests, Singles' Day began as a day for single people - apparently a chance to celebrate for the singletons, or "bare sticks", symbolised by the four number ones in the date of 11 November - 11/11.
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But in 2009 the online retail firm Alibaba adopted the day to promote a massive online shopping sale. It said the date was easy to remember, and conveniently placed in a consumer spending lull between National Day and Chinese New Year holiday.
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Singles' Day rapidly became a hit. Other online retailers began cashing in, and Alibaba copyrighted the term "Double 11".
Nowadays, Double 11 is the largest online shopping day in China.