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Alibaba's Big Singles' Day: $1 Billion in Sales in 8 Minutes

by Nyshka Chandran, CNBC /
Image: File photo of logo of Alibaba Group in Hangzhou
A logo of Alibaba Group is pictured at its headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, in this October 14, 2015 file photoCHINA STRINGER NETWORK / Reuters

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Singles' Day was created in the 1990s as a way to celebrate single life — the 11.11 date represents solitary figures — but Alibaba became the first major company to monetize the holiday, launching a special online sale in 2009 that effectively transformed the day into a shopping phenomenon. It's one that reflects the growing wealth of China's middle class.

"At each 11.11, Alibaba's infrastructure is put to the test and our technological capabilities are taken to the next level," said Daniel Zhang, Alibaba's chief executive officer. "Last year, we handled a record-breaking 80,000 orders at peak 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."

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