Singles' Day racks up $33b in sales in 16 hours

QR codes being produced ahead of the Singles Day shopping festival in Wenzhou China on Oct 24

Below we have answered all your queries related to the Alibaba's Singles' Day sale.

Chinese multinational conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. earned US$10 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV) an hour after the start of the annual 2018 Global Shopping Festival at midnight on Sunday, despite economic headwinds.

The Chinese company hit a record $1bn in sales in 85 seconds, and then just shy of $10bn in the first hour of the 24-hour spree.

The company settled roughly 69 billion yuan ($9.92 billion) in the first hour of Singles' Day on Sunday, up roughly 21 percent from last year's early haul of 57 billion yuan.

The sale covers obvious goods like smartphones, TVs and other big-ticket consumer items, but also fashion, clothing, furniture, health products and more.

The strong consumer spending provides some welcome news for economy watchers concerned about the impact of the trade war on overseas shipments.

"This year's "double eleven", in terms of the size of consumption, data, I think should be successful. And so we are very focused on making sure everything works, because if we can accommodate this scale of business in a single day, we believe there is a point in the future where we will run the business at this level every day", Alibaba ($BABA) President Michael Evans told Cheddar's Hope King on Friday.

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"People are swept up in the festivities", Hong said in a phone interview. With a brewing trade war, a cooling economy and rising competition from smaller platforms such as JD.com Inc. and Pinduoduo Inc., Alibaba is seeking to add new growth engines.

Washington imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods since the trade war began in July, while Beijing has imposed tariffs on $110 billion of US goods in retaliation.

Singles Day began as a spoof event celebrated by unattached Chinese university students in the 1990s.

Just before 4:00pm on Sunday, about 16 hours into the event, the sales reached $33.5 billion - surpassing the total purchases from last year's Singles Day, according to figures posted online by Alibaba Group. Even including the predicted Cyber Monday sales of $6.6 billion, the number is close to what Alibaba clocked in its Single's Day sales back in 2015.

Although it's been three years since Ma said he wants to make Singles' Day a global shopping event, that hasn't happened yet.

This year, stars including Mariah Carey and performers from the Cirque du Soleil entertained in a four-hour gala televised on Alibaba's Youku video platform and through other media partners.

Singles' Day was the brainchild of co-founder Ma and Zhang, who came up with the idea of turning the counter-cultural holiday into a shopfest a decade ago.

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