Alexa Olesen explains why having only one child remains so common in China, despite the retracted policy:
China’s state-run news service Xinhua published an article Nov. 10 with the headline: “Why aren’t we seeing the expected baby boom?” The news agency said it had sent reporters fanning out in four provinces to ask why eligible couples were hesitating.
The respondents fell into three general categories:
those afraid to have a second kid, those who don’t want to, and those who just can’t decide. Among the “afraid” group was a 32-year-old IT worker in the rust belt city of Shenyang in northeast China who said he thought it would be too expensive to have a second child. “It’s easy to have another one, but it’s hard to raise them,” said the man who was only identified by his surname, Zhang.
Another man, surnamed Wang from Yantai, a coastal city in eastern China’s Shandong province, said it would be too exhausting to have another child and he was perfectly happy to just have his daughter. He was in the “don’t want” camp. Wang also told Xinhua he didn’t see anything wrong with raising an only child. “Our generation is all only children, and we’re doing just fine,” he said.
Representing the undecided camp was Wan Yan, a 36-year-old university lecturer who said she felt she was probably too old for a second child but hadn’t ruled it out yet. “If we can’t give the second child the best of everything, it would be very hard to commit to having another one,” she said.
It’s a young holiday, thought to date back only to 1993, when Nanjing University students picked November 11—11/11 is four singles, see?—as a sort of “anti-Valentine’s Day” where single people could buy things for themselves.
While, to me, that sounds like pretty much every day for a single person, it has blown up in China thanks to the backing of Alibaba. Since 2009 the ecommerce giant has used Singles’ Day as an excuse for a big one-day sale in order to get people buying stuff in their online Tmall—and it’s caught on. It took just 17 minutes of Singles’ Day for Alibaba to record a billion dollars in sales, according to CNBC. It took just an hour and eleven minutes to top $2 billion. According to Forbes, by just after midnight Beijing time, Alibaba was reporting that sales reached $9.3 billion, a 60 percent increase in revenue over just a year ago.
Alison Griswold adds:
The craziest thing about Singles Day is that its huge sales so far have been almost entirely driven by Chinese shoppers. What Alibaba is looking to do now is grow Singles Day from a Chinese phenomenon to a global one—an expansion that’s all the more important after Alibaba debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in mid-September. That IPO rang in as the biggest ever in the U.S. and investors across the world are watching closely to see if Alibaba can maintain its breakneck pace of sales growth.
Previous Dish on Singles Day here.