China to celebrate Singles' Day with whopping shopping spree

China to celebrate Singles' Day with whopping shopping spree

They will do so by participating in the world's biggest shopping day, with last year's sales totalling $18.2 billion.

Total sales at the end of 24 hours.

Alibaba said that by midday yesterday, the gross value of sales processed by Alipay (支付寶), its online payment system, had surpassed the US$17.8 billion logged over the full 24 hours a year ago.

In China, Alibaba's main rival, online retailer JD.com, said sales had topped $16.7 billion - though the tallies are not comparable because JD tracks transactions starting from November 1 through to the actual day.

By comparison, American shoppers past year spent more than $5 billion shopping online on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, according to Adobe, which tracks such data. Last year, online sales sold over $3 billion.

Shoppers around China and some 200 countries and regions scooped up discounted lobster, iPhones and refrigerators at a rate of as many as 256,000 transactions per second.

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Alibaba hosts a large gala on the Friday before Singles Day. It is expected that an estimated 1.5 billion parcels related to the event will be shipped over the next six days to millions of people across more than 600 cities.

The GMV figure itself is not direct revenue for Alibaba.

While there is no definitive explanation on the origins of Singles' Day, it is believed by many to have been conceived in the 1990s as a day for China's legions of unmarried young adults to celebrate their lack of romantic commitments. It takes its name from the way the day is written numerically as 11/11.

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.

"Using past growth figures, Hylink have predicted that Singles' Day is expected to generate over US$21 billion in sales this year".

It is a reminder for Malaysians of the recently-launched Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) in Sepang, Selangor, one that is touted to achieve similar success to Alibaba and 11.11, but with Malaysian small-medium enterprises (SMEs). "We will see tens of billions of dollars injected overseas (by Alibaba)", said Li Chengdong, a Beijing-based independent e-commerce analyst.

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