Alibaba has broken its own record for sales on China’s Singles Day, the world’s biggest online shopping event.
The e-commerce giant said sales surpassed the record amount of $9.3 billion made last year in just over half the time.
Singles Day, also known as Double Eleven because it is held on November 11, has become a major annual event for Chinese retailers.
Alibaba said more than $1 billion was spent within eight minutes of midnight.
Within the first hour, Alibaba had made $3.9 billion in sales, almost double the amount spent in the same time period of the 2014 Singles Day.
In comparison, sales on Cyber Monday, which is the biggest online shopping day in the US, hit $1.35 billion, according to data analytics company ComScore.
Singles Day has grown tremendously since Alibaba began promoting it as a shopping day in 2009, and now includes many retailers such as rivals JD.com that stage sales promotions.
In 2015, Alibaba said there would be more than 40,000 merchants and 30,000 brands from 25 countries selling goods on its platforms.
More than 130 million users have already visited Alibaba’s marketplace app, Taobao, which exceeds the peak from 2014.
In the lead up to the event, Alibaba hosted a four-hour TV variety show featuring Chinese celebrities and Western entertainers such as Daniel Craig of James Bond fame.
Kevin Spacey appeared as his character President Frank Underwood from the Netflix series House of Cards to wish shoppers a “happy Singles’ Day” in a two minute video.
Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang had said in a statement that the event would mean “the whole world will witness the power of Chinese consumption”.
He promised consumers “a new surprise every hour” over the 24-hour marathon, especially mobile users.
Alibaba said more than 27 million purchases came via mobile devices in the first hour.
Although its competitors offered attractive discounts, Fangting Sun, China-based analyst at market research firm Euromonitor International said that consumers’ attention was still focused on Alibaba’s online marketplace Tmall.com.
Alibaba accounts for more than 80% of China’s internet sales market.
It predicts that 1.7 million couriers, 400,000 vehicles and 200 planes will be making deliveries of products that range from electronics goods to cosmetics despite slowing growth in China.
Economists will be looking for clues about domestic consumption in Wednesday’s sales as China’s economy, the world’s second-biggest, heads for its slowest growth in nearly a quarter of a century.
Veterans Day started on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Veterans Day was first called Armistice Day, declared to mark the end of World War I hostilities at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 .
American Congress gave it that name in 1926, though it didn’t become a national holiday for a dozen more years.
In 1954, the holiday became known as Veterans Day when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation making it so in order to honor veterans of all U.S. wars.
Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday in October in 1968 by Congress, but that was reversed in 1978 when it became obvious that Americans wanted the holiday celebrated November 11.
Veterans Day is often confused with Memorial Day because they are similar in intent, but not identical. Memorial Day honors America’s war dead, while Veterans Day honors all American veterans, living and dead, and has a special emphasis on thanking living veterans for their service to the country.
Veterans Day was first called Armistice Day, declared to mark the end of World War I hostilities at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918
Facts about Veterans Day:
*There is no apostrophe in Veterans Day.
*In 1921, the United States laid to rest the remains of a World War I American soldier — his name “known but to God” – in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on a hillside overlooking Washington, D.C. It became known as the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” and was meant to symbolize reverence for the American veteran. Today it is known as the “Tomb of the Unknowns.”
*At the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington Cemetery, at 11 a.m. each November 11, a color guard composed of members of each of the military branches renders honors to America’s war dead. The U.S. president or a representative -today it was Vice President Joe Biden -places a wreath at the tomb and a bugler sounds taps.
Here are some other facts, courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau:
21.8 million = The number of military veterans in the United States in 2010.
1.6 million = The number of female veterans in 2010.
2.4 million = The number of black veterans in 2010.
Additionally, 1.2 million veterans were Hispanic; 265,000 were Asian; 156,000 were American Indian or Alaska Native; 28,000 were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 17.5 million were non-Hispanic white. (The numbers for blacks, Asians, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, and non-Hispanic whites cover only those reporting a single race.)
9 million = The number of veterans 65 and older in 2010.
At the other end of the age spectrum, 1.7 million were younger than 35.
When Veterans Served
7.6 million = Number of Vietnam-era veterans in 2010. 35% of all living veterans served during this time (1964-1975).
In addition, 4.8 million served during the Gulf War (representing service from August 2, 1990, to present);
2.1 million in World War II (1941-1945);
2.6 million in the Korean War (1950-1953);
and 5.5 million in peacetime only.
49,500 = Number of living veterans in 2010 who served during the Vietnam era and both Gulf War eras and no other period.
Other living veterans in 2010 who served during three wars:
54,000 served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam era.
Living veterans in 2010 who served during two wars and no other period:
837,000 served during both Gulf War eras.
211,000 served during both the Korean War and the Vietnam era.
147,000 served during both World War II and the Korean War.
Where Veterans Live
3 = Number of states with 1 million or more veterans in 2010. These states were California (2 million), Florida (1.6 million) and Texas (1.6 million).
14.1% = percent of people 18 and older in Alaska who were veterans in 2010.
The percent of the 18 and older population who were veterans was 12% or more in Maine, Montana, Virginia and Wyoming.
26% = Percent of veterans 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree in 2010. In comparison, 28% of the total population had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
92% = Percent of veterans 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher in 2010, compared with 86% of the population as a whole.
$35,367 = Annual median income of veterans, in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars, compared with $25,605 for the population as a whole.
Veterans On the Job
9.6 million = Number of veterans 18 to 64 in the labor force in 2010.
26% = Percent of veterans for whom poverty status is determined with a disability in 2010.
3.4 million = Number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating. Of this number, 698,000 have a rating of 70% or higher. Severity of one’s disability is scaled from 0 to 100 percent and eligibility for compensation depends on one’s rating.
15.8 million = Number of veterans who voted in the 2008 presidential election. 71% of veterans cast a ballot in the presidential election.
12.4 million = Number of veterans who voted in the 2010 congressional election. 57% of veterans voted in the 2010 congressional election.