China’s biggest shopping festival has already begun. Like Christmas, Singles Day has sprawled from a day into a shopping season. There’s a whole culture of discount shopping on Taobao and its peers—and this year, our intrepid reporters are going to take you to the front lines of the e-commerce wars as they hunt for bargains.  

You need to be prepared, focused, and quick. If your internet connection is bad, you won’t get anything, Jiayi warned me. When you are competing with millions of people over limited stock, every millisecond counts. 

For the past year, my colleague and Taobao coach Jiayi Shi has been training me in the art of the shopping festival deal. In June, we spent the weeks before midsummer shopping festival 6.18 building trains in an in-app game, cashing out a cool RMB 9 and RMB 11 ($1.35 and $1.55).

Disappointed and frustrated, I continued with my Taobao addiction as normal over the next few months, doom-scrolling without buying anything during idle moments. 

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Eliza Gkritsi

Eliza is TechNode's blockchain and fintech reporter. When she isn't obsessing over the rise of distributed ledger technology in China, she helps with editing.