Alibaba: China's Singles Day works magic for the internet giant

The e-commerce company took in $2 billion of sales in the first hour of the day

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The Independent Online

The Chinese internet giant Alibaba processed $9.3bn (£5.9bn) of sales during the country’s annual Singles Day yesterday – helping it to comfortably beat last year’s record $5.75bn of sales.

In all, 278 million orders were shipped, almost double the previous year’s 150 million packages, confirming the Chinese celebration as the world’s biggest online shopping day of the year.

Singles Day has become a Chinese tradition since students at Nanjing University in the 1990s chose the date as an anti-Valentine’s Day when single people would buy things for themselves.


But it’s unlikely to catch on elsewhere as it falls on Remembrance Day.

The majority of sales are still in China, but Alibaba said orders were also flooding in from the US, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The day marked another triumph for founder Jack Ma, who last month was named China's richest man with an estimated fortune of $23.9 billion, according to Forbes.

Ma, a former school teacher, created the so-called Chinese eBay from his flat 15 years ago. It has grown to become the world’s biggest e-commerce business and last year it handled $248 billion in transactions - more than eBay and Amazon combined.

Alibaba is now valued at $240 billion following its record-breaking initial public offering in September.