China sales: Alibaba takes £2bn in minutes on Singles' Day

Hit Singles

Alibaba has racked up $25.3 billion in sales on Singles Day, China's biggest online shopping day, so far, with close to $7 billion in sales made in the first 30 minutes.

China's smartphone-wielding masses unleashed billions of dollars in e-commerce spending Saturday as they rushed to snap up bargains on "Singles Day".

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Singles' Day now exceeds the combined sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. More than 140,000 brands will participate this year, Alibaba said.

Just a little past halfway through the day Alibaba crossed last year's GMV (gross merchandise value) of $17.7 billion. Alipay processed 1.5 billion payment transactions in total, up 41% from 2016, and processed 256,000 transactions per second at peak.

Pharrell Williams, British pop singer-songwriter Jessie J, tennis superstar Maria Sharapova and Real Madrid icon Luis Figo attended this year's 11.11 Countdown Gala Celebration. 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.

Alibaba rivals such as JD.com also reported brisk business.

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The event, now indulged in by all consumers whether with or without a better half, takes pride of place in the calendar of manufacturers and retailers in the country, making up a significant share of annual orders for many businesses.

Alibaba is investing heavily in creating an entire user ecosystem encompassing cloud computing, artificial intelligence, automated stores using face-recognition, and is pushing into overseas markets under much-travelled boss Jack Ma, one of China's richest men.

But environmentalists accuse Alibaba and other e-tailers of fuelling a culture of excessive consumption and mountains of waste.

Greenpeace said "Singles Day" deliveries a year ago created 130,000 tonnes of packaging waste - less than 10 percent of which is recycled.

Alibaba ( BABA ) racked up another huge take from its "11.11 Global Shopping Festival", but JD.com ( JD ) also enjoyed a sales windfall. "We will see tens of billions of dollars injected overseas (by Alibaba)", said Li Chengdong, a Beijing-based independent e-commerce analyst.

Besides, the Chinese e-commerce giant has now revealed that about $12 billion worth goods have been sold within two hours of the launch of its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

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