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A Look Back at Singles' Day: How the Retail Extravaganza Has Grown Since 2009

Alibaba Hosts Singles' Day Event Countdown Gala
Photographer: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg
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Remember 2009?

For Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., that was the year co-founder Jack Ma created China’s first retail extravaganza around the holiday of Singles’ Day. The holiday originally didn’t have much to do with shopping. It had started in the 1990s on university campuses as a celebration of being single, a retort of sorts to Valentine’s Day.