In the West, today is the remembrance of the end of World War One. But in China, November 11 is Singles' Day and the entire country has prepared for an online sales onslaught.
In 2014, Alibaba posted more than USD9 billion in sales on China's Singles' Day. And this year rivals JD.com and Suning hope to emulate part of Alibaba's success with even higher sales.
In 2009, Alibaba turned a staid Chinese version of Valentine's Day into a growing e-commerce movement, and last year the company said almost 30,000 merchants took part on the online sales festival.
But site outages and bandwidth are a concern, as the discounts have started to attract even more shoppers.
Yesterday, Alipay, an affiliate of Alibaba Group, sent a message to its payment processing clients with the following message: "Nov. 11 is the shopping festival in China, on that day the transaction flow will be very huge. To maintain the stability of service, some services will be paused on that day till 12:00 A.M. Nov 12, Beijing time. Transaction records and settlement records query will be paused. The service of SFTP transaction files download will be paused. The settlement might be paused. All the service will recover at 12:00 A.M. Nov 12, Beijing time. Sorry for any inconvenience. We would appreciate your understanding!"
Alibaba has not elaborated yet which services will be deprecated or halted during the day. But their preemptive moves towards closing any unstable services points to both worries of potential unfixed problems and good foresight in avoiding some of those problems.