China's Singles' Day sales hit 1.5 bln United States dollars in first 3 minutes

As tills shut at midnight yesterday, Alibaba's live sales ticker registered 168.3 billion yuan or US$25.4 billion, up 39 per cent from 120.7 billion yuan past year - more than double the 2016 gross domestic product of Brunei (US$11.4 billion).

China's smartphone-wielding masses unleashed billions of dollars in e-commerce spending Saturday as they rushed to snap up bargains on "Singles Day".

Additionally, the retailer hit a record $18 billion in just 13 hours, eclipsing last year's record of $17.8 billion in 24 hours.

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Alibaba said that by midday yesterday, the gross value of sales processed by Alipay (支付寶), its online payment system, had surpassed the US$17.8 billion logged over the full 24 hours a year ago.

USA singer and producer Pharrell Williams, British pop star Jessie J and other celebrities will help launch this year's November 11 "Singles' Day", Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba said. There were 256,000 payment transactions processed per second by Alipay, Alibaba's Alizila news website reported. The day of shopping brings in more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined in the US.

The day's transaction volumes are pumped up by many Chinese delaying purchases of mundane items like rice and toilet paper to take advantage of cut-rate prices.

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Alibaba has racked up $25.3 billion in sales on Singles Day, China's biggest online shopping day, so far, with close to $7 billion in sales made in the first 30 minutes.

November 11 has been celebrated as China's Single's Day since the 1990s. Greenpeace said Singles' Day deliveries previous year created 130,000 tonnes of packaging waste - less than 10 per cent of which is recycled. Market research experts say the massive growth is attributed to retailers competing for a share of consumer spending in China's growing economy.

"This year, a series of live entertainment events including Tmall's See Now Buy Now Fashion Show along with other live streaming and interactive activities will bring together millions of people around the world to jointly celebrate a global shopping festival of the year".

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