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Alibaba hits $2-bn sales in first hour of ‘Singles Day’

Alibaba said a record $2 billion of goods were sold in the first hour of its Singles Day shopping bonanza in China on Tuesday, maintaining the day's dominance as the world's biggest retail event as it went global for the first time.

The e-commerce giant said that amount was more than a third of the $5.8 billion full-day sales recorded on the same day last year and analysts say this year will blow that out of the water.

Alibaba has been pushing 11 November as Singles Day — so named for the number of ones in the date — since 2009 as it looks to tap an expanding army of Internet shoppers in China, which has the world's biggest online population.

Singles Day already surpassed major shopping festivals in the US in terms of transaction value last year, toppling the combined online sales of $3.7 billion recorded on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to an estimate by Internet analytics firm comScore.

The day was originally marketed as an ‘anti-Valentine's Day’ in China featuring hefty discounts to lure the country's singletons and price-sensitive buyers.

Within the first hour and 12 seconds, more than $2 billion) of deals were settled on both domestic and international retail marketplaces, Alibaba said in a statement, adding that 45.7 percent of the transactions were made via mobile devices.

Headquartered in the eastern city of Hangzhou, Alibaba debuted its shares in New York two months ago with a record-breaking $25 billion initial public offering.
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