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Alibaba clocks up $2bn sales in one hour of Chinese ‘singles day’

Chinese e-tailer Alibaba has clocked up an impressive $2bn in sales during one manic hour of its annual ‘singles’ day’ promotional event, rising to $4.9bn by midday - a significant increase on the $3.1bn in sales registered in the first 12 hours of last year’s event.

One of the world’s largest online sales, comparable to ‘Cyber Monday’ in the US on the day after Thanksgiving, it is estimated that 200m packages would be shipped for orders made during the 24 hour period.

Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma said: “I bet the number [of goods bought] is going to be scary.”

Singles’ Day began life as an anti-Valentine’s Day event for single people to treat themselves to gifts but was co-opted by the retailer to boost sales in 2009, from where it ballooned.

China’s e-commerce market is projected to grow by 25 per cent annually in the coming years, rising from $390bn in 2014 to $718bn in 2017, according to figures compiled by consultants AT Kearney.

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