Chinese consumers today spent about USD 1.5 billion in the first three minutes of annual online shopping fiesta "Single's Day", with e-commerce giant Alibaba registering record sales. Sales on TMall, an Alibaba e-venture, broke last year's record of USD 18.1 billion within 13 hours as the total gross merchandise volume exceeded last year's 120.7 billion yuan (USD 18.1 billion), Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. In just three minutes past midnight, the sales hit 10 billion yuan (about USD 1.5 billion).
In 2016, the volume was achieved in six minutes and 58 seconds, according to Alibaba. November 11 is celebrated as Single's Day in China since the 1990s. The date was chosen because 11-11 resembles four "bare sticks," the Chinese term for bachelor. Launched in 2009, the day-long event held annually on November 11 is now considered a benchmark for China's ongoing swing towards online shopping, especially via smartphones. As of 1 AM (local time) today, transactions were made in 201 countries and regions, the top five being Japan, the US, Australia, Germany and South Korea.
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