The annual event for lonely hearts is now four times bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the biggest shopping day in the US calendar

Shoppers have spent more than $25bn (168.2bn yuan) during China’s annual Singles Day, smashing previous records for the world’s largest retail event.

Single’s Day, promoted annually by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and held on 11 November, was supposedly started by bachelor university students in the 1990s who bought themselves presents as a kind of anti-Valentine’s day. The date 11/11 was chosen for its collection of lonely ones.

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