image: vogue china

image: vogue china

“Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. logged a record 91.2 billion yuan ($14.3 billion) in sales on Singles’ Day, turning a sweethearts’ holiday dreamed up two decades ago into a major online shopping event,” per Bloomberg News. This year’s transactions passed last year’s record of $9.3 billion before midday today in China, according to the Chinese e-commerce giant, which went public last year on the New York Stock Exchange. (Note: the American equivalent, Cyber Monday, brought in $3 billion this year). Hardly a stranger to record-breaking results, the company grabbed the title of the largest initial public offering ever last year. The Alibaba Group which was launched in 1999 by Chinese entrepreneur, Jack Ma, and consists of  consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales wed services, raised $25 billion, thereby surpassing the 2010 offering from the Agricultural Bank of China, which raised $22.1 billion in its debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Compare that $14.3 billion dollar figure that Alibaba brought in today with what analysts estimate to be eBay’s annual revenue for 2014: $16.1 billion. Our friends over at Wired broke the Alibaba sales down a bit, noting: “In the first 90 minutes after the Singles Day kickoff, at midnight in Beijing, Alibaba said it surpassed $5 billion in total sales. Seventy-four percent of those were from mobile phones. And international brands—from Nike to Apple—often offer discounts to lure more buyers.”

Alibaba and its TMall site have become home to both authentic and counterfeit high fashion goods alike, with brands like Burberry, Puma, and Calvin Klein, among others, have flocked to the Chinese platforms. Others, such as Kering and LVMH, have fought Ma in court over the proliferation of counterfeit goods on the sites. 

Of today’s shopping festivities, Bloomberg also notes: “Chairman Jack Ma raised the stakes this year by moving the event’s headquarters to Beijing, bringing in more foreign brands and enlisting Hollywood celebrities Daniel Craig and Kevin Spacey to add glamour to the shopathon. Tapping into rising disposable incomes has paid off for China’s biggest e-commerce emporium as it captures more of the country’s surging smartphone use with restaurant deliveries and video streaming.”