Reading lesson: Shopping on Single’s Day

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Read this article about an online shopping phenomenon. You can also listen to the audio recording below.

Alibaba Sets Sales Record on Single’s Day

E-commerce giant Alibaba broke records with sales of $14.3 billion on China’s Singles’ Day.

It is the largest online shopping day in the world.

Online sales from 2015 increased 60 percent, according to Alibaba. Most people shopped on mobile devices, said the firm. The numbers are preliminary and unaudited, the company said.

China Singles’ Day takes place November 11, or 11.11 each year. Alibaba promoted it as a shopping day in 2009. There are steep discounts and other promotions designed to attract online customers.

Singles’ Day quickly became a retail sensation.

China Singles’ Day “has now become larger than both Cyber Monday and Black Friday combined,” the two biggest shopping days in the U.S., reported NBC News.

Kitty Fok is China manager for market research from IDC. She told the BBC that online shopping had become a comfortable channel for most consumers.

“China is a big market with close to one billion smart, connected device users. It is good news for both Alibaba and their competitors,” she said.

Jack Ma is Alibaba’s founder and executive chairman. He told journalists in Beijing that the event’s annual growth in the future should be more than 50 percent.

The company is focusing on international e-commerce for future Singles’ Days, reported Reuters.

“Within the next five years, we expect China will become the world’s largest e-commerce market for imported products,” President Michael Evans told reporters on Wednesday.

Alibaba Chief Executive Daniel Zhang said in a statement that Singles’ Day would mean that “the whole world will witness the power of Chinese consumption.”

Over 130 million users visited Alibaba’s marketplace app, Taobao, reported the BBC.

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