Alibaba Singles Day sales hit $1 billion in just 2 minutes

SHANGHAI CHINA- NOVEMBER 10 A general view of atmosphere at 2017 Alibaba Singles' Day Global Shopping Festival gala at Mercedes Benz Arena

Alibaba Day, known as the "11.11 Global Shopping Festival", is the largest e-commerce day in the world, driven by the main Alibaba platform, Tmall.

Major Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding processed roughly 120 billion yuan ($18 billion in today's exchange rate) worth of online transactions on Singles Day previous year.

In two minutes of sales time, Alibaba's gross merchandise volume totaled $1 billion.

The event, which started out as an opportunity for Chinese singletons to buy themselves a gift, has spiralled into the world's biggest shopping day of the year.

Alibaba began launching "Double 11" deals in 2009 just as online shopping was starting to explode and trademarked the term "Singles Day" by 2012. Think Black Friday, but even more staggering.

Alibaba also hosted a star-studded gala enlisting tennis star Maria Sharapova and American rapper Pharrell Williams to pump sales, Bloomberg reported.

Alibaba's payments affiliate, Alipay, processed $17.8 billion of transactions on November 11 previous year.

Alibaba hit $5 billion in transactions in less than 15 minutes on Singles Day this year as compare to the cyber shopping event back in 2015, where it took the Chinese e-commerce company a full hour to reach $5 billion in transactions.

More than 140,000 brands will participate in 11.11 in 2017, offering 15 million products The Double 11 shopping event will have more than 60,000 worldwide brands that will offer popular items from authentic autographed sports memorabilia to fresh foods and produce to half a billion Chinese consumers.

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