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November 9, 2021
☕ Good morning!
Singles Day, Black Friday
Singles Day Alibaba

Something is happening in China that may tell us what to expect here in the coming years: Singles Day, the  November 11 (11/11) e-commerce extravaganza that used to see bigger and bigger sales figures, seems to be waning. What used to be a craze has subsided.


  • The SCMP has a feature on the “world’s largest shopping festival” and its struggles in 2021.
  • Partly it’s down to Beijing’s antitrust crackdown, which has hampered the ability of platforms to get exclusive deals with merchants.
  • Alibaba’s elaborate countdown galas, which once hosted Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, are taking a break.
  • Now, Alibaba is highlighting environmental sustainability, with “green vouchers” on offer to encourage people to buy environmentally friendly options, and recycling stations for packaging materials have opened at 10,000 stations.
  • It’s not that Single’s Day is dead, it’s just that loads of presales and deals are starting early, a little like how we see Black Friday here already underway, with early deals and “month of Black Friday” offers already appearing.

The other difference:

  • One of the main selling channels in China is via live streaming. Somewhat similar to the shopping channels on cable TV, the main difference is trust being built up between the streamers and brands.
  • The SCMP feature details how certain popular streamers press brands “to offer discounts of more than 50% by promising to sell 200,000 items,” with reality TV shows following the streamers around.
  • Short video platforms, the equivalent of TikTok in China, and Alibaba’s Taobao Live, are big players in live streaming, with strong competition.

What to expect:

  • While Twitch and other live streaming platforms are popular, we haven’t seen breakout stars or brands yet.
  • Back in December last year, Walmart tried a livestream fashion event on TikTok that “netted seven times more viewers than expected,” but still the live space seems open for now.
  • Until that play emerges more strongly, most of the efforts we see in Black Friday/Cyber Monday plays are just early deals.
  • Black Friday is officially November 26, though Amazon has early offers already, Walmart started its deals on November 3, OnePlus is offering deals across the entire month, and so on.
  • Amazon has been doing the same with its Prime Day deals, stretching for weeks in advance.
  • The issue this creates is that it confuses consumers. Too many deals too early adds complexity around what the best deals may be. When everyone competes on Black Friday only, it’s a little easier to compare and have a budget set to buy something.
  • When deals expand to an entire month or longer, the space is laced with uncertainty.

📅 Chip news: Samsung Exynos event confirmed for November 19, and you’d pretty much expect an Exynos SoC with AMD GPU could very well be announced. Plus, the Snapdragon Tech Summit 2021 has been announced for November 30, where you’d expect the next flagship chip to be the headliner, the Snapdragon 898 or whatever the name may be (Android Authority).

📌Also: AMD’s first Zen 4 CPUs include a 128-core chip built for the cloud (Engadget).

👉 Motorola Edge 30 Ultra specs leak, could be a Snapdragon 898 flagship (Android Authority).

🥽 Niantic launches platform to build ‘real-world metaverse’ apps (The Verge).

🔑 Hacking group says it has found encryption keys needed to unlock the PS5: Fail0verflow announcement suggests a private exploit to expose system’s secure kernel, a first step towards using a jailbroken PS5 in non-Sony-approved ways, until Sony issues a patch and forces everyone to get the update to play online. Or, like with the PS4 exploit discovered by Fail0verflow, it just may not be released, resulting in no meaningful changes for owners… but still (Ars Technica).

🔓 Robinhood hack compromises millions of customer email addresses and names (Gizmodo).

🐶 Google can now find your pet’s doppelgänger in works of art. I can tell you it works ok, but there’s not many Japanese Spitzs in history :( (Engadget).

📺 Disney Plus is upgrading Marvel movies to IMAX aspect ratio, meaning smaller black bars (The Verge).

🧂 Sodium batteries may power your new electric car (Wired).

🚀 NASA astronauts safely splashdown on Earth, though one parachute was slow to inflate. That’s all ahead of the SpaceX Crew-3 launch tomorrow (Ars Technica).

🚢 Satellite images show mockups of US Navy ships in area of Chinese desert used for missile target practice (ABC News).

🤔 “What brand name is actually 100% worth spending more for?” (r/askreddit). Crayola, 3M Post-Its, Fiskars, Zippo lighters…

Chart Tuesday

Here’s the price of 1GB of mobile data, in every country:

VC Mobile Data
  • In studies like this before, there’s a general mix of reasons including a existing infrastructure (or lack thereof), reliance on mobile data (the more reliance, the lower the cost most of the time), average income of consumer (the higher, the more costly data is), and monopoly or concentration of network ownership. 
  • The latter reason is why Canada and Germany are so expensive.
  • The data here from Visual Capitalist shows a 30,000% change between the top and bottom expenses: India at the cheapest, Malawi most expensive.


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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