By Naina Bajekal
November 10, 2014

China’s e-commerce firms are getting ready for the country’s biggest online shopping day Tuesday by hiring temporary staff and renting more warehouse space to deal with high volumes of orders.

The day known as Singles’ Day saw more than twice as much merchandise sold than on Cyber Monday in the U.S. last year. Singles’ Day—so called because the date 11/11 uses four “1”s to represent single people—began in 1993 at Nanjing University as a celebration of being single but gradually became a day when singles and couples alike could buy things for themselves.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba began to capitalize on the shopping fervor five years ago, offering staggering discounts to entice more customers. Last year Alibaba said it processed 254 million orders on the day worth $5.8 billion, The Financial Times reports.

After posting its $25 billion record-breaking IPO back in September, this year Alibaba aims to boost Singles’ Day sales by partnering with global brands and turning Singles Day into a worldwide event. This year is expected to be even bigger thanks to a 20%-increase in the total number of shoppers online, according to Boston Consulting Group.

[The Financial Times]

Write to Naina Bajekal at naina.bajekal@time.com.

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