Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma says he doesn’t have time to go shopping on Singles Day

A downbeat Jack Ma.
A downbeat Jack Ma.
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Alibaba founder Jack Ma is sitting out Singles Day this Nov. 11, with no plans to make any online purchases during the e-commerce company’s flagship event—a day of shopping that sees more retail sales than America’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

“I don’t have time to go shopping. Today is Singles Day and my family is definitely shopping, but I don’t have the time,” Ma said, standing in front of a giant screen at Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou showing the final sales for the day.

Ma has said before that he has never bought anything on Taobao or used AliPay, the third party payment arm, for fear that becoming familiar with the products would dampen his anxiety to improve them. (Today he was wearing shoes that were bought online, but they were purchased by his family, he said.)

Anxiety was a running theme in Ma’s brief comments today to reporters at Alibaba’s main campus. “I am very nervous right now because everyone is saying Alibaba is not good in this or that. People have very high expectations. We are not that good. We are still young,” Ma said.

Alibaba sold 57.9 billion yuan ($9.3 billion) on its e-commerce platforms, outstripping last year’s figure of 35 billion yuan.