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Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sales hit $23 billion in the first nine hours of

HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) – Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Inc. (BABA).N) on Monday said sales of its annual Singles’ Day shopping blitz to hit 158.31 billion yuan ($22.63 billion) in the first three hours, for a maximum of 25% of 126.72 billion yuan, at the same time last year.

The logo of Alibaba Group is seen during Alibaba Group’s 11.11 Singles Day a global shopping festival, at the registered office of the company, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, on November 10, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

Closely related to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States, Singles’ Day has been promoted as an online shopping fest by Alibaba’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Daniel ” Zhang, since 2009, is growing rapidly to become the world’s biggest online sales event.

Also known as the “Double-Eleven”, the festival’s name is derived from the calendar date of Nov. 11, with four on 11/11 signifying a single.

For an interactive view of the event, please click here to tmsnrt.rs/2WTFm7V.

Alibaba net sales of $30 billion, and the platforms on Singles Day last year, dwarfing the $7.9 billion U.S. online sales for Cyber Monday. However, the 27% increase in sales was the lowest in the case of a 10-year-old history, which is a search for fresh ideas.

Citic Securities, in a Feb. 9 research note, forecast for the Singles Day sales to grow 20% to 25% this year, held back partly due to the slowing down of the overall e-commerce growth in China.

The Chinese retail juggernaut, with a market value of $486 billion, which is the kick-off for this year’s 24-hour-long festival, with performances by American pop star Taylor Swift and local celebrity, such as Jackson and Yee.

Sales hit $1 billion within the first one minute and eight seconds, and will reach 84 billion yuan for the first hour, which is an increase of 22% compared to the previous year, the front end of the pull out of 69 billion yuan.

The first Day was one of the top trending topics on China’s Twitter-like Weibo micro-blogging platform, on a Monday morning, and users to discuss what they spent their money on it.

Alibaba has said that it is expected that more than 500 million registered users, in order to take part in the shopping festival of this year is about 100 million more than in the previous year.

This is the first time that Alibaba’s Singles’ Day is not a flamboyant co-founder Jack Ma at the helm after he resigned in September as chairman to “start a new life.”

It also comes at a critical time for the company, which is looking to raise up to $15 billion in a share sale in Hong Kong this month.

Alibaba continues to dominate the online-shopping industry, but it is not without competition.

In addition to long-time rival JD.com Inc. (JD).D), but also in the face of competition from the Pinduoduo, Inc., PPD.(O), which has increased in popularity and, in 2017, is aimed at consumers in China’s lower-tier cities.

(For an illustration, on A closer look at Alibaba’s “Double 11” online shopping day-double-click tmsnrt.rs/2WTFm7V)

Reporting by Josh Horwitz, in Beijing; Additional reporting by Brenda Goh in Shanghai and Cheng Ling in Beijing; Editing by Himani sarkar Cushing and Christopher

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