Forget Black Friday and Cyber-Monday…..China has a day that makes it look like a snack size Snickers. It’s called Singles Day, and it’s always on 11/11, which is supposed to represent four 1’s, which symbolizes 4 single people…and yes, I too am scratching my head on that one. It all began in 1993 at a University, to mark singles, celebrating the single life and buying stuff for themselves, rather than a significant other. It slowly, like most trends, became popular over the years, and e-commerce sites and businesses started to take advantage of it, and market it heavily. Imagine the bonus point accruals on credit cards here!! According to reports, last year, the famed Alibaba processed more than 245 million orders online to a whopping $6 billion. Every year, Singles Day gets bigger and bigger, and this year is no different, with an expected 20% increase in the total number of shoppers online. Safe to assume merchants can expect to be smiling all the way to the bank.
The rituals of Singles Day are quite simple. Eat up a ‘chinese churro’ for breakfast, and then go shopping.
Chinese – US Visa Change Coming Soon.
In other China news, it looks like the State Department has now extended the visa policy for Chinese citizens. Under the new visa rules, set to take effect on Wednesday, student visas will be valid for five years, while business and tourist visas will be valid for 10 years. The deal will not change how long a traveler will be allowed to stay in the US or China, but how long the visas are valid for entry. The requirements for an in-person interview as part of the applications process will not change, however.