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China Shopping Festival Smashes Record With $25b Haul

As tills shut midnight on Saturday, Alibaba’s live sales ticker registered 168.3 billion yuan, up 39% from 120.7 billion yuan last year.As tills shut midnight on Saturday, Alibaba’s live sales ticker registered 168.3 billion yuan, up 39% from 120.7 billion yuan last year.

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, Reuters reported.

As tills shut midnight on Saturday, Alibaba’s live sales ticker registered 168.3 billion yuan, up 39% 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.

At just past the halfway mark, the headline gross merchandise volume swept past last year’s dollar total just shy of $18 billion. Shortly afterwards, sales surpassed the 2016 total in the local currency.

The event gets shoppers around China scouting for bargains and loading up their online shopping carts, while delivery men - and robots - brace for an estimated 1.5 billion parcels expected over the next six days.

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