The organiser of the event, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, said the gross value of sales was nearing $20 billion by early Saturday evening in a count that started at midnight on Friday.

A large screen shows total gross merchandise volume, a measure of sales, exceeding 10 billion yuan after three minutes and 1 second during the 2017 Tmall 11:11 Global Shopping Festival gala in Shanghai early November 11, 2017.
A large screen shows total gross merchandise volume, a measure of sales, exceeding 10 billion yuan after three minutes and 1 second during the 2017 Tmall 11:11 Global Shopping Festival gala in Shanghai early November 11, 2017. (AFP)

Today is dedicated to all the single ladies and fellas of China.

Singles Day was started by Chinese college students in the 1990s as a version of Valentine's Day for people without romantic partners. 

Once a celebration for China's lonely hearts, Singles Day has become an annual 24-hour extravaganza that exceeds the combined sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States, and acts as a barometer for China's consumers.

Chinese consumers are spending billions of dollars shopping online for anything from diapers to diamonds on Singles Day, a day of promotions that has grown into the world's biggest e-commerce event. Also known as
Chinese consumers are spending billions of dollars shopping online for anything from diapers to diamonds on Singles Day, a day of promotions that has grown into the world's biggest e-commerce event. Also known as "Double 11" for the November 11 date, the shopping event was launched by e-commerce giant Alibaba. (AFP)
Alibaba says sales by thousands of retailers on its platforms had exceeded $20 billion by early evening Saturday in a count that started at midnight Friday.
Alibaba says sales by thousands of retailers on its platforms had exceeded $20 billion by early evening Saturday in a count that started at midnight Friday. (AP)
Alibaba is investing heavily in creating an entire user ecosystem encompassing cloud computing, artificial intelligence, automated stores using face-recognition, and is pushing into overseas markets under much-travelled boss Jack Ma, one of China's richest men.
Alibaba is investing heavily in creating an entire user ecosystem encompassing cloud computing, artificial intelligence, automated stores using face-recognition, and is pushing into overseas markets under much-travelled boss Jack Ma, one of China's richest men. (Reuters)
Environmentalists accuse Alibaba and other e-tailers of fuelling a culture of excessive consumption and mountains of waste.  Greenpeace said Singles Day deliveries last year created 130,000 tonnes of packaging waste, less than 10 percent of which is recycled.
Environmentalists accuse Alibaba and other e-tailers of fuelling a culture of excessive consumption and mountains of waste. Greenpeace said Singles Day deliveries last year created 130,000 tonnes of packaging waste, less than 10 percent of which is recycled. (Reuters)
E-commerce's huge growth in China has put New York-listed Alibaba neck-and-neck with Amazon as the world's most valuable e-commerce company, while also making Nasdaq-listed JD.com a Fortune 500 company.
E-commerce's huge growth in China has put New York-listed Alibaba neck-and-neck with Amazon as the world's most valuable e-commerce company, while also making Nasdaq-listed JD.com a Fortune 500 company. (Reuters)
Source: TRTWorld and agencies