from the anti-couples-day dept.
Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, said on Saturday its Singles' Day sales extravaganza hit $25.4 billion, smashing its own record from last year and cementing it as the world's biggest shopping event. Once a celebration for China's lonely hearts, Singles' Day has become an annual 24-hour buying frenzy that exceeds the combined sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States, and acts as a barometer for China's consumers.
As tills shut midnight on Saturday, Alibaba's live sales ticker registered 168.3 billion yuan, up 39 percent from 120.7 billion yuan last year. The dollar figure was up more steeply due to the strength of the yuan against the greenback this year.
The event began soon after a star-studded event in Shanghai late on Friday. As midnight hit, a deluge of pre-orders helped drive a billion dollars of sales on Alibaba's platforms in the first two minutes and $10 billion in just over an hour. "In terms of scale it just dwarfs any other event out there," said Ben Cavender, Shanghai-based principal at China Market Research Group.
But what is Singles' Day?
Chinese Singles' Day or Guanggun Jie (Chinese: 光棍节; pinyin: Guānggùn Jié; Wade–Giles: Kuang-kun chieh; literally: "Single Sticks' Holiday") is an entertaining festival widespread among young Mainland Chinese people, to celebrate the fact that they are proud of being single. The date, November 11th (11/11), is chosen because the number "1" resembles an individual that is alone. This festival has become the largest offline and online shopping day in the world, with sales in Alibaba's sites Tmall and Taobao at US$5.8 billion in 2013, US$9.3 billion in 2014, US$14.3 billion in 2015 and over US$17.8 billion in 2016.
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Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has beaten market expectations with a huge jump in quarterly revenues fuelled by online shopping.
Revenues for the three months to September rose 61% on the same period a year earlier, to 55.1bn yuan ($8.3bn; £6.4bn). It also raised its revenue predictions for the full-year forecast.
Alibaba is expanding from its core online businesses to investments in supermarkets and stores. "We had an outstanding quarter," Alibaba chief executive Daniel Zhang said in a statement. "We are seeing the early results from our efforts to integrate online and offline with our new retail strategy".
For the July to September quarter, income from operations surged 83% from a year earlier, to 16.58bn yuan.