Singles Day strikes a cautious tone this year as China’s economy slows and a tech crackdown continues

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By Laura He, CNN Business

Singles Day — the world’s largest annual shopping event — has kicked off in China and promises to bring in tens of billions of dollars in sales for the country’s biggest e-commerce companies.

But the tone at this year’s bonanza is a lot more cautious than it has been in prior years, as companies contend with rising inflation in a slowing economy and a regulatory crackdown on their operations.

Alibaba launched the first Singles Day Shopping Festival on November 11, 2009. The event, which is also known as Double 11, is pegged to China’s informal, anti-Valentine’s Day holiday that celebrates people who aren’t in relationships. The date — 11.11 — was chosen because it is written as four ones, or singles.

Since that first occurrence, Singles Day has ballooned into a shopping frenzy observed not just by Alibaba, but also by other e-commerce companies that offer their own steep discounts and…

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