Alibaba says Singles' Day sales surpass last year's $9.3 billion total

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Alibaba Singles Day Sales Hit New Record


Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd (BABA.N) said on Wednesday the value of merchandise it has sold so far during the Singles' Day online shopping extravaganza had surpassed last year's total of $9.3 billion.

The company, which six years ago turned Nov. 11 into China's equivalent of U.S. shopping event Cyber Monday, could see this year's sales rise to as much as $13.8 billion, a growth of almost 50 percent from last year's total, according to research firm IDC.

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JD.com Inc (JD.O), China's second largest e-commerce firm and Alibaba's chief rival, also said it broke past last year's full-day total just before noon China time (0400 GMT). JD.com does not give specific sales figures on the day.

See photos of the Singles' Day festival:

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Alibaba says Singles' Day sales surpass last year's $9.3 billion total
Express delivery workers pack parcels for their customers outside an office building during the "Singles' Day" online shopping festival, in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. Shoppers spent more than $9 billion in the first 12 hours during the e-commerce giant Alibaba, country's biggest online shopping holiday, expected to smash last year's figure to set a record for a single day of sales. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A woman wearing a mask walks past a TV screen showing real-time sales figures of e-commerce giant Alibaba, on the "Singles' Day" online shopping festival, outside a shopping mall in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. Shoppers spend more than $9 billion in the first 12 hours during the country's biggest online shopping holiday, expected to smash last year's figure to set a record for a single day of sales. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Workers sort parcels for their customers near the JD.com delivery bikes during the "Singles' Day" online shopping festival, in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. Shoppers spent more than $9 billion in the first 12 hours during the e-commerce giant Alibaba, country's biggest online shopping holiday, expected to smash last year's figure to set a record for a single day of sales. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A woman walks past a 'Singles Day' sale promotional board at the entrance of a shop in Beijing on November 11, 2015. Shoppers spent around 9 billion USD in the first 12 hours of China's 'Singles Day' sale on November 11, e-commerce giant Alibaba said, in the world's biggest online shopping day. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman walks out a shop past a 'Singles Day' sales promotional board in Beijing on November 11, 2015. Shoppers spent around 9 billion USD in the first 12 hours of China's 'Singles Day' sale on November 11, e-commerce giant Alibaba said, in the world's biggest online shopping day. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 11: (CHINA OUT) The screen shows the statistic of Tmall.com during a ceremony of 2015 Tmall 11.11 Global Shopping Festival at the Water Cube on November 11, 2015 in Beijing, China. Alibaba Group and Hunan television held a ceremony at the Water Cube (aka National Aquatics Center) for the 2015 Tmall 11.11 Global Shopping Festival which attracted consumers to shop on Tmall.com with discounts on November 11 which was also called the 'Singles Day'. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 11: (CHINA OUT) The screen shows the statistic of Tmall.com during a ceremony of 2015 Tmall 11.11 Global Shopping Festival at the Water Cube on November 11, 2015 in Beijing, China. Alibaba Group and Hunan television held a ceremony at the Water Cube (aka National Aquatics Center) for the 2015 Tmall 11.11 Global Shopping Festival which attracted consumers to shop on Tmall.com with discounts on November 11 which was also called the 'Singles Day'. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
People take photos of a large screen showing total gross merchandise volume, a measure of sales, exceeding 10 billion yuan at 00:12 am and 28 seconds during the 2015 Tmall 11:11 Global Shopping Festival gala in Beijing on November 11, 2015. Shoppers spent nearly 8 billion USD in the first 10 hours of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's 'Singles Day' event on November 11, the firm said, reinforcing its status as the world's biggest online retail promotion. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
HANGZHOU, Nov. 10, 2015 -- Workers sort out goods bought by customers online at a deliver center in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, Nov. 9, 2015. China's Internet conglomerate Alibaba started to develop e-commerce in China's countryside where villagers know little about online shopping since October, 2014. Tens of thousands of 'cuntao partners' who help villagers shop and sell goods online have appeared in one year, which means more villagers will participate for the first time in the annual Singles Day, an online sales campaign which falls on Nov. 11 every year. (Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi via Getty Images)
This picture taken on November 3, shows a JD.com employee checking goods from a conveyor belt at a warehouse in Langfang, China's Heibei province. Shoppers spent around 9 billion USD in the first 12 hours of China's 'Singles Day' sale on November 11, e-commerce giant Alibaba said, in the world's biggest online shopping day. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
This picture taken on November 3, shows a JD.com employee checking goods at a warehouse in Langfang, China's Heibei province. Shoppers spent around 9 billion USD in the first 12 hours of China's 'Singles Day' sale on November 11, e-commerce giant Alibaba said, in the world's biggest online shopping day. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
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Alibaba is positioned as the number one player in the Chinese e-commerce market, so it has to be seen to be maintaining, or gaining ground really," said Duncan Clark, chairman of Beijing-based tech consultancy BDA.

Singles' Day, originally a mock celebration for people not in relationships, features steep discounts and other promotions aimed at attracting droves of customers online. Alibaba's sales data have been closely watched as a gauge of Chinese consumption as economic growth slows.

Alibaba's numbers this year will get a boost from sales by affiliates including brick-and-mortar retailer Suning Commerce Group Co (002024.SZ), in which it bought a 20 percent stake in August. Suning's in-store sales will count toward Alibaba's total gross merchandise volume, as long as they go through final processing online, an Alibaba spokesman said.

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Alibaba has stressed its focus on international e-commerce this Singles' Day. "Within the next five years, we expect China will become the world's largest e-commerce market for imported products," President Michael Evans told reporters.



This month, JD.com lodged a complaint with Chinese regulators saying Alibaba was "forcing merchants" to exclusively choose its site for promotional activities, a fact Alibaba denies.

JD.com later said the SAIC had formally accepted the complaint.

(Reporting by Paul Carsten in Beijing and Lehar Maan in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Miral Fahmy)

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