Vastavam web: Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, said its Singles’ Day sales surged past last year’s total just after midday Saturday, hitting a record $18 billion, pointing to a likely giant haul for the world’s biggest shopping event.After a star-studded event in Shanghai late Friday to ring in the event, which is held each year on Nov. 11, the volume of goods sold on Alibaba’s platforms raced past a billion dollars in two minutes and hit $10 billion in just over an hour. The company’s tills are set to shut at midnight Saturday.
At just past the halfway mark, the gross merchandise value swept past last year’s dollar total of $17.7 billion. Shortly afterwards, sales surpassed 120.7 billion yuan, the total in 2016 in the local currency, which has appreciated against the dollar in the past year.“This is a big event for China, for the Chinese economy,” Joseph Tsai, Ali Baba’s co-founder and vice chairman, said ahead of the sales bonanza. “On Singles’ Day, shopping is a sport, it’s entertainment.”
Tsai said rising disposable incomes of China’s “over 300 million middle-class consumers” was helping drive the company’s online sales – and would continue. “This powerful group is propelling the consumption of China,” he said.At Alibaba’s Friday night gala, the company’s co-founder and chairman, Jack Ma, hosted guests including the actress Nicole Kidman, singer Pharrell Williams and Chinese musicians and film stars such as Zhang Ziyi and Fan Bingbing.