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Alibaba Singles’ Day Broke Last Year’s Record, 11 Hours Before End

Alibaba Singles’ Day Broke Last Year’s Record, 11 Hours Before End

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day shopping bonanza has broke last year’s all time high of $18.2 billion by 1:09 PM in Beijing with hours to go before the final bell.

The annual frenzy had already hit $8.6 billion in sales in the first hour after starting at midnight, and by 8 a.m. some 82 brands had topped 100 million yuan in sales including New Balance, Samsung and Shiseido, according to Alizila, a blog run by the company. More than 90 percent of transactions were done via mobile.

Shoppers from at least 192 countries and regions swarmed the e-commerce giant to scoop up discounted lobster, iPhones and refrigerators, at a rate of as many as 256,000 transactions per second. The Chinese company hosted a star-studded gala with tennis star Maria Sharapova and American rapper Pharrell Williams to pump sales.

Citigroup Inc. has predicted transactions will rise by more than 30 percent to 158 billion yuan this year. While that’s only half the growth rate last year, the event still dwarfs others such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Billionaire founder Jack Ma is using it as a testing ground for his plans to revamp China’s $4 trillion traditional retail sector with technology, an experiment that could help the behemoth gain an edge in China’s saturated market.

“The work that’s been done in the integration of offline and online, not just in terms of the technology integration, but the data and efficiencies for brands and the consumer through personalization has been enormous,” Alibaba President Mike Evans said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “We see the impact of it in our day-to-day business.”

The date of Nov. 11 emerged as a counter-cultural antidote to the sentimentality of Valentine’s Day. It takes its name from the way the day is written numerically as 11/11, which resembles “bare branches,” a local expression for the unattached.Bloomberg

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