Has the world’s biggest shopping day become too elaborate for its own good? Chinese e-commerce giants that revel in the annual retail ritual on November 11 may disagree, but NetEase says it has had enough. In a manifesto published on Wednesday, a week before the shopping bonanza, the internet behemoth announced, “This Singles’ Day, we are quitting the battle.” Quit might be an exaggeration. The company’s shopping platform, NetEase Yanxuan, said it still plans to bring consumers “the year’s strongest subsidies” – steep discounts, in other words. “The products we prepare for Yanxuan’s Singles’ Day will be the cheapest all year,” it posted on Weibo. NetEase said what it really opposes is what it derides as “complicated discount gimmicks” and “overconsumption”. “An enchanting evening spent in a five-star hotel room cannot compare to the sound sleep that a natural latex pillow can give you every night,” said Yanxuan, which specialises in affordable merchandise ranging from household appliances to food and beverages. What you need to know about China’s Singles’ Day online shopping festival In the decade after Alibaba Group Holding, the Post ’s parent company, first branded Singles’ Day as an annual shopping festival , the event and its peers have evolved into a unique form of entertainment. More than just a 24-hour mad dash for deals, Singles’ Day is now a strategic, multi-day hunt for bargains that puts consumers’ dedication to test. Cash vouchers, sometimes known as “red packets”, are handed out in mini games designed to keep shoppers glued to the screen. Participants are awarded for completing tasks like browsing a certain shop for 15 seconds or successfully inviting a friend to join. More discounts are given out to those who partner up in groups. Tuning in to live streams hosted by internet celebrities, a phenomenon that took off in China during the pandemic, is a source of even more deals and savings. E-commerce platforms have also been extending the shopping festival through early sales . As in previous years, JD.com already kicked off its official sales on Sunday. And for the first time ever, Alibaba’s platforms added a new shopping window during the first three days of November this year. Presales began even earlier in October. The shopping frenzy has frustrated some consumers, confusing them with an abundance of promotions and fine print. The Weibo hashtag “Singles’ Day rules are driving me crazy” has been viewed more than 5 million times. “I really want to sleep, but the pair of shoes that I’m buying for my dad has to be paid for at 12:30 after midnight,” one Weibo user wrote. Some Singles’ Day deals require the buyers to scramble for limited stock, all at the same time. “If I don’t buy, I feel like I’m missing out on the chance to save up,” another user said. “But if I do buy, I don’t actually know what I need to do to get the deals. It’s just too complicated.” NetEase’s declaration appears to be a response to exactly this kind of consumer sentiment. And the message was not lost on the people it was trying to target. “Nice, dude, your assessment of which way the wind is blowing is pretty accurate,” read one Weibo comment with more than 13,000 likes. “You said you quit, but you haven’t really quit,” someone else said in another popular comment. “You’re just doing alternative marketing and throwing shade at your enemy platform along the way.” But despite the apparent irritation experienced by some shoppers, there still appears to be rising interest in the annual extravaganza. Alibaba said last week that Singles’ Day presales on Tmall increased more than 90 per cent compared with last year.