Alibaba shopping extravaganza earns US$10b in first hour

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But since its inception, mainly thanks to Chinese tech giant Alibaba, in the last decade Singles' Day has blossomed into the largest shopping holiday in the world. Pinduoduo Inc., which is backed by archrival Tencent Holdings Ltd., and other smaller platforms are gaining traction with consumers and other companies have latched on to making 11 November a key promotional event with discounts on the day.

Singles' Day is the world's biggest online sales event and past year netted Alibaba 168 billion yuan ($24.15 billion) in total sales.

The explosive start to Singles' Day comes as little surprise despite some recent shakiness in the Chinese economy.

Alibaba group CEO Daniel Zhang said the Indian market was big and it was seen by many big companies as a strategic location.

The spending binge has for years eclipsed Cyber Monday in the US for online purchases made on a single day. First popularized by college students, November 11 emerged as an antidote to the sentimentality of Valentine's Day.

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Alibaba's Singles' Day surpassed Amazon's biggest shopping day of the year in less than 10 minutes. Written numerically as 11/11, the date looks like "bare branches", a Chinese expression for the single and unattached. His Hangzhou-based company also uses the occasion to test the limits of its cloud computing, delivery and payments units.

Although retail sales in China have been steady, the outlook is uncertain as the economy slows and concerns rise over the impact of the trade war with the United States. Chinese online retail sales growth slowed to 24 percent in the third quarter, down 12 percentage points from the previous three months, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Global expansion will be a key plank of Mr Zhang's effort to keep breaking records.

Consumers took less than two hours to rack up 100 billion yuan in purchases after the festival began at midnight, a milestone that took seven more hours to achieve past year.

"The most important thing for us for Singles Day is to. make it both interesting and productive for our merchants ー and that they can test new products and learn about have much closer consumer engagement ー and for the consumers that they can have fun". President Donald Trump said in mid-October he plans to withdraw the US from a 192-nation treaty that gives Chinese companies discounted shipping rates for small packages sent to American consumers, making it harder for Chinese merchants to push into the market.

"That trend is not going to stop, trade war or no trade war".

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