US singer and producer Pharrell Williams, British pop star Jessie J and other celebrities will help launch this year's November 11 "Singles' Day", Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba said.
Total sales at the end of 24 hours.
Singles' Day now exceeds the combined sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States.
"This is a big event for China, for the Chinese economy", Mr Joseph Tsai, Alibaba's co-founder and vice-chairman, said. Shoppers also spent $3.39 billion on Cyber Monday a year ago, the largest single online shopping day in the U.S., Adobe said. The final Alibaba 11.11 Singles Shopping Event could close in on $25 billion, depending on the momentum in the last hours of the sale.
Nicole Kidman and Pharrell Williams were among the stars who helped get the eighth Singles' Day off to a glittering start.
Couriers and robots are expected to deliver an estimated 1.5 billion parcels over the next six days.
E-commerce's huge growth in China has put New York-listed Alibaba neck-and-neck with Amazon.com Inc as the world's most valuable e-commerce company, while also making NASDAQ-listed JD.com a Fortune 500 company.
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The holiday was once a celebration for China's lonely hearts and unattached singles, known as "bare sticks".
The yearly display of rising Chinese consumer spending power has become crucial for manufacturers and retailers across the country, accounting for a significant share of annual orders for many businesses.
Alibaba turned 100,000 physical shops around China into "smart stores" for this year's event.
"Using past growth figures, Hylink have predicted that Singles' Day is expected to generate over US$21 billion in sales this year".
It already has a substantial stake in Lazada, an online retailer in Southeast Asia - a hot e-commerce battleground - and recently launched an electronic trading hub in Malaysia, its first outside China.
"This is just the start".
Besides, the Chinese e-commerce giant has now revealed that about $12 billion worth goods have been sold within two hours of the launch of its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.
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