Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba has set a new sales record for its annual Singles’ Day shopping event.
The public holiday falls on 11th November and gives millennials an opportunity to celebrate their singledom. 11 years ago, Alibaba joined the festivities by offering discounts across its entire range of online and offline businesses.
Since then, it has grown into the largest day for shopping in the world, eclipsing the five-day Black Friday discounts in the US by $6 billion.
The 2019 Singles’ Day saw approximately 215 billion yuan ($30.7 billion) of purchases, beating last year’s record by just over 1 billion yuan. Sales reached the $1 billion mark in just 68 seconds, 17 seconds faster than in 2018.
A large entertainment show is broadcast on television to run alongside the shopping, which this year featured performances from Taylor Swift and local singer-songwriter G.E.M.
Alibaba’s CMO Chris Tung said to CNN: “We continue to feel very confident about the growth potential of the economy. We are pushing deeper towards the less developed areas of China, to reach more new online shoppers, so there’s a huge untapped opportunity there.”
It was the first Singles’ Day since co-founder and China’s richest man Jack Ma stepped down from his position as chairman at the beginning of September. He was succeeded by Daniel Zhang, the man widely credited as being the brains behind they holiday’s discounts.
The conglomerate Alibaba has a market cap of $487 billion, making it about half the size of US-based Amazon.
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