China's online sales hit $800M in 8 hours on 'Singles Day'

Summary:In just 8 hours, the country's biggest online store clocked sales of over US$800 million on Nov. 11-- Singles Day Shopping Festival--bringing new challenges to traditional retailers.

Eight hours into the Singles Day Shopping Festival, sales volume at China's biggest online store,, reached a record-high of 5 billion RMB (US$800 million).

The Chinese Singles Day is celebrated on Nov. 11 each year when the date 11.11 is seen as a symbol of singlehood, as well as another reason for consumers to empty their pockets while merchants fill up theirs.

Online retailers also look to cash in., which is owned by the Alibaba Group, expects to see sales volume on its site will exceed 10 billion RMB (US$16 billion) in 24 hours after Nov. 11.

Over 10 million subscribers began swarming its e-commerce site 60 seconds after the shopping feast began at midnight. Sales reached 250 million RMB (US$40 million) in 10 minutes, 1 billion RMB (US$160 million) in 37 minutes, and 2 billion RMB (US$320 million) at 1.10am, according to figures from a local Web site's.

Due to a sudden peak in online transactions, Netizens took to Chinese social media, Weibo, to complain about not  being able to confirm orders or finish online payments. Some also reported the online banking systems were not functional. Retailers' social media accounts also had been tweeting promotional information all day long.

Alibaba CEO Ma Yun said earlier in an interview with CCTV the era of e-commerce had arrived, and Chinese online stores were bringing a revolution to the doorsteps of traditional retailers. "It is just like the laws of mother nature, lions always eat lambs," said Ma. "The game has begun."

Topics: E-Commerce, China


Liu Jiayi is a Hong Kong-based writer and editor. He produces video stories for Al Jazeera English and Seven News Australia, and also worked as the video editor for the Hong Kong-San Francisco Ocean Film Festival 2012. He is studying under a Master of Journalism Programme at the University of Hong Kong.

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