China sales: Alibaba takes £2bn in minutes on Singles' Day

Quirkier items meant to nail in on the joke about the nature of Singles' Day were heavily promoted, such as a one time payment of 11,111 yuans (roughly $1,672 USD) for a lifetime supply of baiju liquor. That is less than one fourth of Alibaba's single day sale.

With more than half of China's 1.3 billion people being smartphone users, it is no surprise that more than 90% of orders were made by mobile, majority on taobao.com, Alibaba's main e-commerce platform.

Just a little past halfway through the day Alibaba crossed last year's GMV (gross merchandise value) of $17.7 billion.

The yearly display of rising Chinese consumer spending power has become a key date for manufacturers and retailers in the country, accounting for a significant share of annual orders for many businesses.

Alibaba is also willing to export the Singles' Day 24-hour shopping concept to the rest of the world as the company has committed to serve 2 billion consumers worldwide by 2036, Tsai said.

Couriers and robots are expected to deliver an estimated 1.5 billion parcels over the next six days.


Alibaba began launching "Double 11" deals in 2009 just as online shopping was starting to explode and trademarked the term "Singles Day" by 2012.

Alibaba turned 100,000 physical shops around China into "smart stores" for this year's event.

Mobile transactions account for 93 per cent of transactions so far this year, a further lift from the whole-day average of 85 per cent in 2016.

Alibaba launched "Singles' Day" as the Chinese online answer to the late-November US "Black Friday" shopping rush. Alibaba's processors were handling nearly 260,000 transactions per second, according to Bloomberg.

E-commerce's huge growth in China has put New York-listed Alibaba neck-and-neck with Amazon as the world's most valuable e-commerce company, while also making Nasdaq-listed JD.com a Fortune 500 company. "I have often emptied my "shopping cart" on Singles Day", Zheng said.

Besides, the Chinese e-commerce giant has now revealed that about $12 billion worth goods have been sold within two hours of the launch of its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

  • Gwendolyn Kim