Today Beijing’s streets today were littered with delivery vehicles as millions of packages were making their way to happy consumers following yesterday’s Singles’ Day sales. 

But despite 14.3 million USD in sales flowing through Alibaba’s payment service Alipay yesterday, and a whopping 467 million delivery orders passing through the Ali-backed Cainiao logistics system, all was not happy on the trading floor in New York.

Alibaba’s stock recovered in recent months from an all time low of $57.39 in September, but took a downward turn this week as Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma said that the next five to ten months with be tough for China, with certain economic factors continue to take their toll on the market.

Alibaba reported better than expected earnings last month, with a 32% jump in revenue. The company’s positive financial outlook and record-breaking Singles’ Day sales have given onlookers reason to believe that China’s consumer spend is immune to the economic pressures currently affecting other industries. But Mr. Ma believes that retail is still suffering, citing the continued effects of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. 

While this year’s sale day managed to smash records, Alibaba’s year-over-year profits are a better measure of the health of domestic consumption. With hype around the Singles’ Day sales growing yearly, some have pointed out that Singles’ Day creates a vacuum, negatively affecting sales directly before and after the event. 

Following yesterday’s final tally, Mr Ma. was optimistic, saying that despite a “bumpy time” ahead, China’s economy and domestic consumption would see improvement over the next decade and a half. 

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or

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