Business / Economy

Festival turns into spending for lovers

By Raymond Zhou (China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-12 06:57

"Double 11", which is quickly turning into China's biggest grassroots festival, somewhat overlaps with Valentine's Day and provides another occasion for lovers to buy each other gifts.

But it differs from the imported holiday in one key area: Since the four numeral ones used in writing the month and day suggest single status in Chinese, only those who want to shed themselves of this status fit the description. And they declare their love in increasingly ingenious ways-often measured in material terms.

Sending 999 roses is so old-fashioned. On a college campus in Guangdong province, a young couple stood in front of the young man's dormitory, surrounded by hundreds of fellow students. Suddenly, the lights in each window formed the letters "I LOVE YOU". As the young man handed the woman a large bouquet, pink balloons fell from the sky. After he kissed her, a school bus arrived, picked her up and drove her to her dorm, which was only a stone's throwaway.

This romantic maneuver, according to media reports, cost the male student 2,000 yuan ($315), enough to cover his monthly expenses. He had to bribe people in many rooms in the building to turn on the lights at the designated time and then to drop the balloons.

Another campus story that was no less creative, but involved far less financial investment, had a different ending: Instead of serenading the girl of his dreams, the male student sharply executed martial arts routines and 50 single-hand pushups. But she did not come downstairs to pick up his flowers.

From the very beginning, China's Singles Day has been marked by a shop-till-you-drop fervor. Alibaba's Taobao, the world's largest online shopping platform, rings up a sales volume much higher than the total Chinese box-office receipts for a whole year. So, no matter who wins the dream girl on that day, Alibaba founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma ends up as the ultimate winner. Perhaps we should change the name to "Jack Ma Day".

Of course, most spending on that day doesn't involve a change of single status. But if you need to start this day with a partner, you'd better do it with material goods.

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