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Star-studded gala kicks off Singles Day

By He Wei in Shanghai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-11-10 23:34

Star-studded gala kicks off Singles Day

A poster of the short film called 'Gong Shou Dao'. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma will make his screen debut as a Tai Chi master in a short film called 'Gong Shou Dao', which was aired during the countdown gala of the group’s annual shopping festival.

Previews to the 20-minute movie have gone viral on Chinese social media to create the buzz for Singles Day, the Nov 11 online sales.

The title Gong Shou Dao is comprised of the Chinese characters meaning "martial arts" and "to defend or guard". Ma said on his blog post that the film promotes Chinese culture to a global audience.

All eyes turned to Shanghai for the Singles Day gala at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, which was attended by a star-studded lineup including Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman, British pop singer Jessie J, as well as retired Portuguese footballer Luis Figo and Chinese film star Zhang Ziyi.

The Singles Day sales figures will be presented live on a big screen in a media center close to the Arena when shopping begins at 12 am on Saturday.

A brainchild of Alibaba, the Singles Day event evolved from an obscure date in the calendar to the world's largest single-day discount festival. Sales last year reached 120.7 billion yuan ($18.2 billion), triple the size of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined in the United States.

 

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