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October 18, 2014

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Singles Day to create 250,000 temporary jobs

COURIER companies across the country are expected to employ about 250,000 temporary workers to help cope with the annual Singles Day sales rush on November 11.

“The online shopping spree is always a big challenge for us,” said Guo Pengcheng, an employee of Shanghai Yunda Express Co.

The delivery firm has already recruited 10,000 temporary workers, and added 1,000 trucks and 50,000 square meters of storage space to cope with the increased demand, Guo said.

The concept of Singles Day was born on university campuses in the 1990s and is meant to be a time for young people to celebrate their unattached status by partying, eating, gift-giving or simply treating themselves to something special. The timing was based on the date 11-11 — the so-called “bare sticks” that symbolize solitary individuals.

In 2009, the idea was commercialized by Alibaba and other online retailers and has been an annual shopping bonanza ever since.

Industry watchers said that as well as the expected increase in delivery workers, the nation’s courier companies will likely boost their warehouse space by 1.85 million square meters and buy or lease more than 12,000 extra trucks to cope with the increased demand.

The China Express Association said the number of packages delivered is set to rise by more than 66 percent this year to about 251 million, with the peak period being November 11-20.

For online retailers, Singles Day is a highlight of the sales calendar. On November 11 last year, local websites handled more than 35 billion yuan (US$5.7 billion) worth of transactions.

About 27,000 online stores on Tmall and Alibaba will take part in the annual sales push. Alibaba, fresh from its massive stock market launch in New York, is hoping the event will gain international recognition.

“Yunda is well prepared to serve buyers and sellers in America, South Korea, Japan and elsewhere,” Guo said.


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