The sales for the Chinese eCommerce giant were up 22 percent over last year’s Singles Day sales. Singles Day is similar to the U.S. Black Friday and Cyber Monday except it celebrates people who are single in China. It was launched in 2009 by Daniel Zhang, Alibaba’s chairman and chief executive officer (CEO).
The shopping day is also called “Double Eleven,” from calendar date Nov. 11 (1111), with the four ones referencing being single.
Alibaba — the $486 billion Chinese retailer — launched 2019’s 24-hour shopping event with a televised entertainment revue in Shanghai featuring acts like U.S. pop star Taylor Swift and local celebrity Jackson Yee.
The 2019 Singles Day marks the first year that Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma was not involved. He resigned in September as chairman.
The shopping event comes on the heels of the company’s plan to raise $15 billion via a share sale in Hong Kong this month.
More merchandise is moved on Singles Day than during the five-day U.S. holiday buying spree that begins on Thanksgiving and ends on Cyber Monday.
It is estimated that over a half-billion shoppers from China to Russia and Argentina will descend on Alibaba to buy everything from iPhones to refrigerators. In 2018, sales at Alibaba climbed 27 percent or the equivalent to $30.7 billion.
In other Alibaba news, two years after it acquired a majority stake in the firm, Alibaba plans an additional investment of roughly $3.33 billion in logistics affiliate Cainiao to increase its equity stake from 51 percent to 63 percent. The company would subscribe Cainiao shares that are newly-issued and also buy equity interest from a shareholder in the company who was not named, according to reports.
Conglomerate Fosun Group, department store owner Intime Group and other logistic companies also have Cainiao stakes. Alibaba had increased its stake from 47 percent to 51 percent in 2017 and committed to spending over 100 billion yuan to grow the logistics business over five years.