Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba officially kicked off the countdown to its annual one-day shopping bonanza, Singles' Day.
The company promised that this year’s event, held annually on Nov. 11, will include live-streamed fashion shows, virtual reality shopping and a performance by U.S. pop sensation Katy Perry, Reuters reported on Thursday (Oct. 20).
Though the shopping festival was only launched a few years ago by Alibaba, the event has quickly surpassed the combines sales of the major U.S. shopping holidays, Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Last year, Alibaba managed to break the single-day sales record (which it set in 2014) of $9.3 billion, and it did so in about 12 hours. By the end of the 24-hour sale, Singles’ Day 2015 had generated $14.3 billion in total GMV (RMB 91.2 billion). That was a 60 percent increase from 2014’s figures.
Singles’ Day will be expanded globally this year to include markets outside of China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, for shoppers to purchase international products using Tmall.
"Last year, we brought many international brands to China for the first time," Alibaba Chief Executive Daniel Zhang told Reuters.
"We are bringing them to consumers in Hong Kong and Taiwan for the first time this year, and next, it will be Southeast Asia and the rest of the world," he said.
The widely recognized Chinese retail holiday was originally aimed at encouraging singles to shop for something special for themselves but has since transformed into an event that attracts shoppers, brands and merchants from around the world.