Alibaba is cleaning house during China's Singles Day festival, the biggest day in online shopping all year. The 1-day online shopping event has passed $20.3 billion in sales 7 hours before the end of the sale. Pre-orders accounted for a billion dollars of sales on Alibaba's platforms in the first two minutes and totaled about $10 billion in just over an hour.
Joe Tsai, co-founder and vice-chairman of Alibaba Group, told 700 reporters from all over the world in Shanghai that a total of 140,000 brands are taking part this year, up 40 per cent from last year.
That blew well past the $17.8 billion logged over the full 24 hours last year, which itself marked a 32 percent year-on-year increase.
Shoppers around China and some 200 countries and regions scooped up discounted lobster, iPhones and refrigerators at a rate of as many as 256,000 transactions per second.
Such objections are, however, not likely to hold Alibaba back from its push toward expanding "Singles Day" onto the global market.More news: Hezbollah leader claims Hariri's resignation to be 'Saudi madness'
Nicole Kidman and Pharrell Williams were among the stars who helped get the eighth Singles' Day off to a glittering start.
More than half of China's 1.3 billion people use smartphones, which have become central to daily life, used for messaging, shopping, news and entertainment, ordering taxis and meals, and serving as digital wallets for a range of point-of-sale purchases.
Alibaba rivals such as JD.com also reported brisk business.
This loneliest of dates (one-one-one-one), which meant to resemble four solitary sticks, is when China celebrates its Singles' Day. It takes its name from the way Nov 11 is written numerically as 11/11, which resembles "bare branches", a Chinese expression for the unattached.
More than 90 percent of orders were placed via mobile, the majority of which on Alibaba's main e-commerce platform Taobao.com (淘寶). Last year, there were 98,000. It already has a substantial stake in Lazada, an online retailer in South-east Asia and recently launched an electronic trading hub in Malaysia. "We will see tens of billions of dollars injected overseas (by Alibaba)", said Li Chengdong, a Beijing-based independent e-commerce analyst.