Image Credit: Tmall

Image Credit: Tmall

Alibaba is again the talk of the town, following the company’s offer to buy the remainder of online video website Youku Tudou.

Alibaba’s latest figure, updated just before 6 PM, cites over RMB71.9 billion (US$11.29 billion) in sales. The US$9.3 billion Alibaba made last year was reached within the first few hours of China’s Singles Day.

We will see tonight what the total figures amount to, but anticipation started within the first 90 minutes, after Alibaba reported total sales on its sites exceeding a whopping US$5 billion.

Also Read: Retail therapy: Cashing in on China’s Singles Day 

Alibaba hasn’t been shy in sharing results, as anyone following its news feeds will know. The company has been continuously giving updates on its social media, starting at midnight.

Meanwhile, competitor JD.com, the second-largest e-commerce company after Alibaba, also gleefully took to Twitter to announce its success.

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The handle JD.com Spokesman tweets: ”JD is Breaking #SinglesDay Records: We topped our 2010 sales in 2 mins after midnight, 2011 sales in 15 mins, and 2012 sales in 36 mins.”

Unlike Alibaba, JD.com however, has not disclosed exact figures.

The sales figures comes alongside the release of statistics indicating the power of the mobile.

Mobile purchases accounted for 73.9 per cent, or US$2.9 billion during the first hour of Alibaba’s sales today. Meanwhile, JD.com reported that more than 70 per cent of orders coming before 10 AM were made on a mobile device.

Other players mull ways to join the fun

Like the commercial course many holidays take, Alibaba’s prolific advertising on Singles Day is already causing waves across Asia and India.

Diwali, a Hindu festival also known as the Festival of Lights, is observed on the 15th day of the month of Kartika in the Hindu calendar. This year, it happened to fall on Wednesday (Tuesday, in some areas), coinciding with Singles Day.

This has given companies a great excuse to snowball Diwali sales with Singles Day sales. For instance, Flipkart, an e-commerce company based in Bangalore, is already getting in on the action, launching its Flipkart Singles Day contest.

Image Credit: Flipkart

Image Credit: Flipkart

The contest, which started November 11 at 11 AM and ends at 11 PM encourages customers to make a wishlist of products for being “single and happy”, with a cash coupon prize. This comes immediately after Diwali promotions and discounts, monetising and drawing out the holiday.

In Southeast Asia, e-commerce sites like Groupon, Lazada and Zalora launched similar sales, events and promotions.

Image Credit: Zalora

Image Credit: Zalora

WearYouWant, a fashion and beauty marketplace operating in Thailand, which recently secured Series B investment funding, is offering discounts on over 14,000 fashion and beauty products that end at 11PM.

As of 6PM, WearYouWant had a 500 per cent increase in conversion rate compared to the same Wednesday last month, the company told e27. 

Also Read: WearYouWant bags Series B round from Japan’s Start Today

Following Alibaba’s spectacular sales, Singles Day, once limited to mainland China and a seemingly innocuous event to celebrate being single, will now be inflated to a whole different commercial occasion. This is great news if you’re into sales.

Whether or not these numbers are inflated from the Alibaba side, there has been heavy investment (alongside marketing) riding on Alibaba’s success — the company shared on its Weibo that Premier Li Keqiang himself bestowed his best wishes to Alibaba leading up to Singles Day.

In any case, Alibaba’s commercial success overshadows less positive conversations about China’s weakening economy.

Also Read: How brands like Alibaba, Xiaomi came by their names