November 11 is China’s Singles’ Day, a national online shopping feast. Started by Alibaba in 2009, its sales volume now is bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Steam, the Valve-owned online game store, is having its own Singles’ Day sale. It joins the likes of Alibaba and other Chinese ecommerce giants in what’s become the world’s largest shopping event in recent years, far outstripping Black Friday.
Singles Day falls on 11/11 each year because the date resembles four lonely people. Originally started by Chinese students as a joke, it was rebranded as an annual shopping festival by Alibaba in 2003. Today, it’s embraced by retailers around the country — so it’s perhaps no surprise that Steam would join in.
Steam has an estimated 30 million Chinese users, even though the majority of titles it sells aren’t officially approved in China. It even accepts major Chinese online payment options WeChat Pay and Alipay. The platform announced last year it’s bringing an official version to China, drawing fears that it would face heavy censorship.
As for the sale itself? Perhaps appropriately, among the games with discounts today are Shenzhen I/O and Chinese Parents.
(Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba.)