China's answer to Black Friday is rapidly turning into an online Las Vegas

Singles Day
(Image credit: Alibaba)

Singles Day 2020, China’s answer to Black Friday, is increasingly using online gaming to incentivize shoppers for this year's event.

Reports from inside China reveal that many e-commerce platforms are offering deals if individuals complete tasks within in-app mini games.

“In general, e-commerce in China has become more than just filling your cart and clicking ‘checkout’. It is becoming even more engaging and social,” Allison Malmsten, China market analyst at Daxue Consulting, told the South China Morning Post. “Many mobile users shop as a form of entertainment, and brands are getting more competitive to keep and maintain user attention. Selling products alone just doesn’t cut it anymore.”

Alibaba and, two of the country’s largest online shopping platforms, have confirmed that they will each distribute 2 billion yuan ($302.5 million) through virtual games to shoppers this year. While many of the discounts offered are small, for lower-income households they can make a significant difference to their purchasing power.

Back in the game

Singles Day was originally created by Alibaba as a way of giving individuals without a romantic partner a reason to splash the cash. Since its establishment, however, it has more broadly come to represent a huge shopping extravaganza for those with partners or without.

Evidently, however, the frenzy has roped in the world of gaming too. During last year’s Singles Day, it was reported that a skyscraper building game that offered shopping coupons and was produced by Taoboa, an Alibaba subsidiary, was played by more than 400 million people – nearly half of all China’s internet users.

Not everyone is a fan of the mini games, however. Some Chinese shoppers have complained that the time required to earn deals means that they simply aren’t worth it and others have argued that they are intrusive, particularly when family and friends pester them to play together to gain more rewards.

Via South China Morning Post

Barclay Ballard

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.