Just as Alibaba celebrated their new record of 268.4 billion yuan ($38.4 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV) on the Singles’ Day shopping festival, rumors questioning the integrity of those numbers surfaced and circulated on Chinese social media platforms.
Weibo user Yin Liqing made a post in April alleging that Alibaba has been fabricating Singles’ Day GMV data for years. The Chinese e-commerce giant organized its first Singles’ Day in 2009, when it logged 52 million yuan in sales in 24 hours. November 11 was later designated as the day for an annual shopping craze.
Yin’s post, which accused Alibaba for fabricating the Single’s Day data, resurfaced after the sales figures of this year’s shopping gala were announced. Yin said that when he matched Alibaba’s Singles’ Day GMV numbers to a cubic regression curve, the data points and the curve formed a 99.94% fit and used this to estimate that in 2019, Alibaba’s Singles’ Day GMV would fall in the range of 267.5 – 268.9 billion yuan. He argued that it’s highly improbable for a company’s growth in sales to follow such a tight fit.
Yin, who works as a department manager at a Beijing-based software company, concluded that Alibaba had faked the data to draw attention to Singles’ Day promotions.
“Every second, every coin and every order of Tmall Double 11 came from global consumers and are absolutely true and accurate,” Tmall said in a statement, addressing the rumors. “We have commenced legal action against the aforementioned rumors, hoping that there won’t be any more ‘IQ tests’ insulting people’s intelligence.”