Alibaba Singles' Day sales surpass $9 billion

Alibaba, the Chinese counterpart to Ebay, reported that it sold more than $9 billion (£5.6 billion) worth of goods at the annual Single's Day shopping craze.

The online retailer said it sold more than $2 billion (£1.2 billion) worth of goods in the first hour alone and sold $1 million (£630,000) worth of goods in the first 18 minutes, thus looking set to pass last years record-breaking sales from an early stage.

China's Xiaomi, the world's third-largest smartphone maker, also uses the 11.11 festival to boost turnover.

On their official Weibo profile, the company says it sold more than 853,000 phones during the event, surpassing 1.2 billion yuan (£123 million).

Spokesman of JD.com, the Chinese e-commerce rival, said on his official Twitter account that the company topped last years full-day sales by 12:49 PM, with orders up 130 per cent.

The Single's Day festival, or 11.11 as it is also known, began in 2009 when 27 merchants on Tmall.com offered big discounts to boost sales in an otherwise low period.

In this year's global festival, more than 27,000 vendors are taking part and Alibaba an co. will be able to reach shoppers in more than 200 countries.