Singles Day sale beats spectre of 2014 by delivering record US$10bn for Alibaba, after arch bachelor James Bond launches event
Online shopping promotion delivers for Jack Ma's Alibaba
The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has broken its sales record for the Singles' Day online shopping event.
The company said it had taken 57.1 billion yuan (HK$69 billion) by 11.50am on Wednesday.That is equivalent to US$8.9 billion. That milestone had risen to 63.6 billion yuan by 5pm, or US$10 billion.
The firm's previous record on a Singles' Day, billed as the world's biggest online shopping event, was the 57 billion yuan it took last year.
Alibaba said earlier that it made 20 billion yuan in sales in just over half an hour as its online stores started taking orders early on Wednesday.
About 200 million transactions had been processed by the firm by about 8.20am, it said.
The company enlisted the help of James Bond actor Daniel Craig and other celebrities to massively promote the online shopping event.
Craig joined Alibaba's chairman Jack Ma on stage during a variety gala on Tuesday night ahead of the shopping binge.
Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey also appeared as his House Of Cards character, US President Frank Underwood, in a spoof video promoting the event during the gala.
Premier Li Keqiang sent his best wishes to Alibaba ahead of Singles' Day, the company said on its social media account.
Li’s message was also aimed at other e-commerce companies and online shoppers, it said.
The premier has previously emphasised the importance of the online sector to help boost China’s slowing economy.
The Singles' Day shopping festival was started by Alibaba on November 11, 2009 and its takings last year were three times that of Thanksgiving weekend sales in the United States.
Alibaba’s chief executive Daniel Zhang Yong said earlier that the company expected sales this year to set a new record.
“Chinese consumers will shock the world with their strong consumption power,” Zhang said.
The Alibaba gala, the first for the shopping "festival", was broadcast live online and on Hunan TV.
Pop singers, actors and other celebrities were invited on the show to play games and promote products.
READ MORE: All praise Jack Ma: Prayers to tycoon, camp beds and instant noodles as China’s online retailers gear up for Singles’ Day shopping binge
Other celebrities taking part included the Hong Kong pop singer Eason Chan, American Idol contestant Adam Lambert and South Korean pop icon Rain.
Alibaba chairman Ma and actor Craig went on stage for a lucky draw to offer luxury cars to online buyers for one yuan.
JD.com, another major online shopping site, also hosted a gala as a “warm-up” for the shopping event.
It was screened on state television on Tuesday.