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Alibaba Singles' Day Sales Hit $8.6 Billion in First Hour

  • Analysts expect this year’s event to top 2016’s record
  • Event kicks off with star-studded gala with Pharrell Williams
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Michael Evans, Alibaba Group president, discusses the company’s new retail strategy with Bloomberg’s Selina Wang.(Source: Bloomberg)
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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. kicked off its annual Singles’ Day shopping bonanza, logging $8.6 billion in sales within the first hour.

Shoppers from at least 192 countries and regions swarmed the e-commerce giant to scoop up discounted lobster, iPhones and refrigerators, at a rate of as many as 256,000 transactions per second. The Chinese company hosted a star-studded gala enlisting tennis star Maria Sharapova and American rapper Pharrell Williams to pump sales. As the event got underway, 93 percent of transactions were done via mobile.