By the Associated Press
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba says merchants on its platforms sold $12 billion worth of goods in the first hour of Singles Day, a marketing event that has grown into the world’s biggest online shopping day.
Alibaba and rival JD.com reported a total of nearly $50 billion in sales by midmorning Monday.
The so-called 11/11 event began as a joke holiday in the 1990s as an alternative to Valentine’s Day for people without romantic partners and was adopted by Alibaba a decade ago as a marketing tool.
Competitors including JD.com, Pinduoduo and Suning have joined in, offering discounts and special offers.
Alibaba said sales by merchants on its platforms reached $25.8 billion by midmorning. JD.com said its orders totaled $23.8 billion by 9 a.m.