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E-commerce giant Alibaba's Singles' Day sales broke through the $9 billion mark on Tuesday, illustrating the buying power of the Chinese consumer and the importance of the event in the retail calendar. The live sales figure on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's giant screen at its sprawling Hangzhou campus surged past 2013's record high.
The shopping day, similar to Cyber Monday and Black Friday in the U.S., comes less than eight weeks after its public share listing in New York, which set its own $25 billion record. Alibaba turned the Singles' Day celebration, a Nov. 11 Chinese response to romantic holidays like Valentine's Day, into an online shopping festival in 2009. It copyrighted the "Double 11" term three years later after recognizing its commercial potential. Alibaba did 35 billion yuan in business during last year's festival, and Tech research firm IDC predicts this year's total gross merchandise volume (GMV) will reach $8.62 billion. Less than 18 minutes into this year's "11.11 Shopping Festival", GMV had already hit $1 billion.