November 11 is Singles' Day in China, and the Alibaba-inspired holiday has turned into the biggest online sales day of the year.
Estimates before the day forecast Alibaba to hit more than US$20 billion in sales on 11-11. As of noon, the company claims to have sold over US$12 billion as it is on track to exceed the expectations.
Alibaba Group President Michael Evans stated via the company's website that more than 14,000 international brands are participating in the sale, and sales from international brands have so far accounted for about 30% of total gross merchandise volume.
But this year, Alibaba has extended the 24 hours to 24 days. So the expected deals from online merchants to shoppers surfing at Alibaba's sites like Taobao.com and Tmall.com are expected to expand the sales figures for more than three weeks.
In 2009, Alibaba turned a staid Chinese version of Valentine's Day into a growing e-commerce movement and now rivals like Suning and JD.com have also appropriated the day for sales of their own.