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'Singles' Day' shopping spree for online retailers

Updated: 2013-11-12 09:26
( Xinhua)

'Singles' Day' shopping spree for online retailers
Staff members of Tmall, a business-to-consumer marketplace of China's biggest e-commerce platform Alibaba, cheer for rising order volumes in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province, Nov. 11, 2013. [Photo / Xinhua]

HANGZHOU -- Chinese netizens clicked their way through purchases during a 24-hour online shopping frenzy on Nov 11, 2013, highlighting a booming online retail sector amid massive discounts and record-breaking sales numbers.

China's e-commerce giant Alibaba has seen sales at its two online platforms and rise more than 83 percent from a year ago to 35 billion yuan ($5.75 billion) as the Chinese version of Cyber Monday ended midnight Monday.

Alibaba's founder and chairman Jack Ma said if they wish to seek a higher turnover, the number could reach 100 billion yuan. But he said he hoped the 100 billion mark could be hit naturally, rather than intentionally, in the future.

He said he valued the things behind the numbers and hoped the November 11 could become a holiday for Chinese consumers.

The shopping spree falls on November 11, or Singles' Day, each year, as young Chinese either celebrate or pray for an end to singlehood.

Thirteen hours into this year's Singles' Day, Alibaba had beaten its own sales record of 19.1 billion yuan logged on the same day last year at around 1:00 p.m.

The 24-hour shopping spree got off to a strong start as sales at Tmall and Taobao hit the 100 million yuan mark 55 seconds after midnight and grew more than 67 times about an hour later, statistics from Alibaba showed.

Products ranging from milk powder and diapers to cellphones and clothes easily crossed the 100-million-yuan sales threshold.

Xiaomi, a company that sells Android smartphones at budget prices, became the first company to hit the 100-million-threshold, as nearly 220,000 smartphones were sold out three minutes after sales opened at 12:30 a.m.

More than 500,000 cans of milk powder and 66 million diapers were sold on Alibaba's platforms as of 10:30 a.m.

Alibaba's business-to-consumer platform launched its first Singles' Day online shopping campaign in 2009. Sales at Tmall and the consumer-to-consumer on the day have since ballooned from 52 million yuan to 19.1 billion last year.

More than 20,000 tenants on Alibaba's online platforms promised massive discounts, mostly half off, across 30,000 brands.

In addition to discounts, Alibaba has worked with a number of bricks-and-mortar retailers to allow consumers to try out their products before making a purchase on Tmall.

However, this new marketing strategy has caused a backlash from 19 home furnishing retailers. Tenants at these stores have been warned against completing transactions over Alibaba's third-party payment service Alipay amid fears of losing revenues to online sales.

Journalists from more than 200 news outlets waited at the data broadcast hall of the company's headquarters in east China's Hangzhou City early Monday morning to witness its sales data on a huge electronic screen.

There was applause as revenues topped 10 billion yuan at 6 a.m., when more than 100 million consumers had placed orders via the online portal.

On the same day last year, it took 13 hours for the company's sales to top the 10-billion renminbi benchmark.

Alibaba's data showed that 13.7 million buyers placed orders in the first minute of the holiday sales.