Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is set to smash all sales records after raking in more than $5 billion (about Rs 33,515 crores) within the first hour of its annual online sales deal.
On Friday, the e-commerce giant commenced with 'Singles' Day' - their 24-hour event sales blitz.
The event was first launched in 2009. This event gives an insight into China's swing to online shopping, especially smartphones.
"Back in 2013, CNY 35 billion ($5.15 billion or roughly Rs. 34,523 crores) was our one-day GMV (gross merchandise volume)," said Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang in a live micro-blog posting on Alibaba's event, as reported by Reuters. "Now we can achieve it in one hour."
Former football player David Beckham and basketball player Kobe Bryant attended Alibaba's countdown this year.
Singles' Day apparently sells more goods than Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States combined. Sales on Alibaba platforms, which include Tmall and Taobao, are tipped to exceed $20 billion (roughly Rs. 1,33,993 crores) this year, up from $14 billion (roughly Rs. 93,858 crores) last year.
Once the sales event opened at midnight, it released several pre-orders that customers had placed in their carts, ahead of the event. This led to transactions worth one billion dollars in just five minutes.
JD.com Inc and several other e-commerce giants - Alibaba's rivals also offer discount deals on the day. The rise of this Singles Day event reflects how China's consumers, armed with smartphones, are racing online to shop - to the detriment of bricks and mortar stores. Alibaba said 84 % of sales in the first two hours were via mobile devices, up from last year.