Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said on November 11 sales topped 10 billion yuan ($1.44 billion) in just over two minutes from the opening of Singles' Day, an annual online discount sales gala.
Video source: VCG
Once a celebration for China's lonely hearts, Singles' Day has become a 24-hour extravaganza that outsells Black Friday and Cyber Monday US sales combined, and acts as a barometer for China's consumers.
After a star-studded event in Shanghai late on Saturday (November 10) counted down to the sale's midnight start, Alibaba said gross merchandise volume (GMV) topped 10 billion yuan ($1.44 billion) in a little over two minutes, and had almost doubled, to 19.1 billion yuan ($2.73 billion), in under five minutes - beating the entire day's sales in 2012.
Singles' Day has become something of a litmus test for the strength of Chinese consumption, which is coming under pressure amid rising trade Sino-US tensions and a wider economic slowdown. Companies in China are already seeing the effect of rising caution among the country's shoppers.
The focus on Singles' Day will be Alibaba's final transaction number, which comes out just after midnight on Monday (November 12) following a frenzied day of deal hunting for shoppers and brands looking to bolster their sales.