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Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sales obliterate online shopping records

Cyber Monday’s just around the corner and online retailers in the U.S. will surely be getting excited at the prospect of a record day of sales. But no matter how much Amazon or any of the other Web-based stores sell on the special day later this month, it’s not going to come anywhere near the staggering amount Alibaba made yesterday during China’s Singles’ Day, for several years now the biggest online shopping day in the world.

Smashing all previous records, the ecommerce giant raked in $14.3 billion in 24 hours, marking a 60 percent increase on the same day last year.

To put that in perspective, Cyber Monday in 2014 saw sales across all online firms total $2.68 billion, according to Forrester Research data.

On Wednesday evening, as Singles’ Day neared its end, Alibaba was the star of a glitzy three-hour live broadcast on Chinese TV, with guests such as James Bond actor Daniel Craig brought in to add a bit of glamor to the proceedings. There was also an enormous sales ticker that presumably was in danger of running out of digits, and of course Alibaba CEO Jack Ma was in attendance too, appearing on screen with a smile as striking as the Great Wall as the orders continued to pour in.

Related: On Cyber Monday, here’s how not to get cyber screwed

Singles’ Day began in China in the 1990s when a group of student friends who weren’t in relationships decided to celebrate their single lives by holding parties and exchanging presents. Then in 2009 Alibaba got involved and turned it into a massive online shopping extravaganza, and, as we can see, it’s working out just fine for the Hangzhou-based company.

We just hope China’s shipping companies are ready for the 760 million packages entering the system today. Good luck with that.