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Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sets online shopping record with $31B in sales

China's biggest online shopping day easily dwarfs Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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A screen shows the gross merchandise volume, a measure of sales, after two seconds of Singles' Day sales.

Str / AFP/Getty Images

Alibaba's Singles' Day shopping bonanza has set another record for online sales.

The annual 24-hour online shopping spree notched 213.5 billion yuan ($30.7 billion) in sales, the Chinese e-commerce giant said Sunday, surpassing last year's record of $25.3 billion. Products from Xiaomi, Apple and Dyson topped early sales.

Called the 11/11 Global Shopping Festival, otherwise known as Singles' Day in China because of its collection of ones, it's perhaps the world's biggest online shopping extravaganza. Asia's version of Black Friday was created in 2009 by Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang to draw buyers to Alibaba's shopping platform, Tmall.

But Singles' Day easily dwarfs international equivalents like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, traditionally the largest online shopping days in the US, when consumers flock to the internet for deals the day after Thanksgiving. By comparison, last year's Black Friday saw $5.03 billion in online sales.

More than 180,000 Chinese and international brands helped celebrate the 10th 11/11 shopping spree, which also featured televised entertainment from names such as Cirque du Soleil and Mariah Carey.

The day started out as a kind of "anti-Valentine's Day" where China's lonely hearts revel in their singlehood.

CNET's Zoey Chong contributed to this report.

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