Alibaba processes over $1b in sales in 8 minutes

China's Alibaba Group has kicked off its 24-hour annual shopping event with over $1 billion in sales within 8 minutes, and over $5 billion in sales generated in the first hour and a half.

In an annual shopping event that kicked off on the stroke of midnight in China on Wednesday morning, Alibaba has reported in excess of $1 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV) transactions in the first 8 minutes, and $5 billion in the first 90 minutes.

In the first hour, Alipay, the online giant's third-party online payment solution, saw more than 27 million buyers using a mobile device, spending in excess of $2.9 billion, and accounting for 73.9 percent of total GMV for the period.

The event, known as the 11.11 shopping festival, begins at 12.00am and lasts 24 hours.

"This year, Alibaba Group has transformed 11.11 into an unprecedented mobile shopping experience," Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said. "The whole world will witness the power of Chinese consumption this November 11."

Zhang said over the day-long event, consumers using a mobile device will receive a "new surprise" every hour, which according to the CEO, has been especially tailored for those preferring the mobile channel.

Leading up to the shopping festival, Alibaba recorded almost 130 million users via its Taobao app, which in itself surpassed 2014's 11.11 festival peak volume.

"At each 11.11, Alibaba's infrastructure is put to the test and our technological capabilities are taken to the next level," said Zhang. "Last year, we handled a record-breaking 80,000 orders per second, at peak; this year, we expect to handle 120,000 orders and 60,000 payments at peak per second.

"It will be a proud achievement for us."

In August, Alibaba recorded a first quarter non-GAAP earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation of $1.7 billion, up 23 percent from the same quarter last year.

With $109 billion in product sales transacted via its online marketplace, the company said it has seen a record number of annual active buyers with 367 million global users, and 307 million monthly mobile active users, up 18 million from March this year.

"We had a strong quarter and we continued to build the foundations for future growth," Zhang said at the time.

Alibaba said 55 percent of its users were shopping via mobile, with GMV for the quarter reaching $60 billion, an increase of 125 percent year-over-year. On its own, mobile revenue was $1.3 billion.

"We focused our efforts on building healthy GMV growth, delivering the best consumer experience, and improving the quality and sustainability of merchants doing business on our marketplaces," Zhang said.

"We are excited about our top strategic priorities, including internationalisation, winning in mobile, expanding our ecosystem from cities to villages, and investing in core technologies that will propel our cloud computing business."

Bolstering its mobile payments presence, Alibaba and its related company Ant Financial Services Group, entered into an agreement in September with One97 Communications, the parent company of India's largest mobile payment and commerce platform Paytm.

At the time, the company said an undisclosed amount would be sunk into the scaling and development of Paytm's mobile commerce and payment ecosystem in India, as well as investing in marketing, technology, and talent.

The total GMV settled through Alipay after the 24-hour 11.11 shopping festival was $14.3 billion; 60 percent more than last year's total.

Updated on November 12, 8.50am AEST: Added total GMV from Alibaba Group's11.11 shopping festival.