BEIJING - Emma Jiang screamed with delight.
The Beijing worker had just successfully ordered a new washing machine online. She was excited about her purchase on Sunday because the day, dubbed Singles' Day, means massive discounts for consumers in China.
Singles' Day is based on the date November 11, or "11.11" - four "1"s. Young single people celebrate the holiday by eating together, sending gifts or shopping.
Alibaba Group, operator of China's biggest e-commerce platforms, launched a shopping festival on its consumer-oriented platform Tmall.com, highlighting big discounts.
The 27-year old Jiang bought her Haier XQB60-M918 washing machine at the online shop Haier, which opened on Tmall.com, for 999 yuan ($158.8), representing a 16.61 percent discount.
Sales on Tmall.com reached 13.2 billion yuan on the Singles' Day, the company announced on its official microblog.
Dubbed as China's biggest online shopping site, Taobao.com, which operates Tmall.com, also pocketed 5.9 billion yuan on Sunday. Taobao is affiliated to the Alibaba Group, which operates China's biggest online payment system, Alipay.
On Singles' Day last year, trade volume at Tmall.com reached 3.36 billion yuan ($533 million).
More than 100 million consumers logged on Tmall and Taobao to buy products on Sunday, according to Tmall's microblog account.
China has the world's largest population of Internet users, with 538 million people online as of June this year, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.
An iResearch report published earlier this year showed that in 2011, the total number of online shoppers in China stood at 187 million, representing an increase of 39 million year-on-year. The number also represents 36.5 percent of China's total Internet users for last year.
China's e-commerce market turnover in the first half of 2012 jumped 18.6 percent from a year earlier to 3.5 trillion yuan, according to statistics released last week by China e-Commerce Research Center.
China aims to quadruple its annual e-commerce volume from 2010 levels to 18 trillion yuan by 2015 on the back of growing domestic demand and consumption.
Direct employment in China's e-commerce topped 1.90 million people as of June 2012, and the number is expected to reach 2.65 million by the end of this year.