China's Singles' Day shopping spree sees robust sales
China's Singles' Day sales on Alibaba's e-commerce platform TMall hit 10 billion yuan (US$1.43 billion) at just one minute and 36 seconds after midnight on Monday.
At one hour, 26 minutes and seven seconds after midnight, sales on TMall hit 120.7 billion yuan, surpassing the whole day of sales on Singles' Day in 2016.
Both figures set a new record for the Single's Day shopping festival on TMall, which was first designed by Tmall on Nov. 11, 2009, and has become one of the largest online shopping sprees worldwide.
At the peak, 544,000 orders were placed in a second on TMall, setting a new record for peak online traffic in the world, according to Alibaba.
The new records reflect China's rising economic strength, as well as the benefits of technology development and global trade, said Zhou Mi, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation affiliated to the Ministry of Commerce.
"As a whole, the purchasing power of Chinese customers is on the rise, enabling them to buy more high-quality products," said Zhou. "Meanwhile, technology development and more robust global trade have also helped lower the price of commodities."
More than 22,000 overseas brands from 200 countries and regions have participated in this year's shopping spree in China, according to Alibaba.
Sales of Tmall's first shopping festival totaled about 52 million yuan. Alibaba's Singles' Day sales reached 213.5 billion yuan last year.
Initial data provided by TMall on this year's Singles' Day showed that China-made products are gaining increasing consumer recognition.
Among 148 brands with a turnover of over 100 million yuan in the first two hours of transactions on Monday, more than 80 are domestic brands, accounting for more than half of the total.
Notably, sales of tech giant Huawei's flagship shop on TMall surpassed one billion yuan in one hour and 19 minutes, while cosmetics brand Perfect Diary reached sales of 100 million yuan in just 13 minutes.
"Many products made or designed in China are both appealing and of high quality, and they also have the potential to be trendsetters," said Li Shengchao, a marketing director at TMall's clothing section.
The high online traffic on Singles' Day also offers an opportunity to showcase Alibaba's technological capacity.
All online traffic of the core business exchanges on Singles' Day sales was processed through a cloud-based operation system developed by Alibaba, making it the world's first Internet giant with such capability, according to the company.
In addition, Alibaba Cloud, the cloud service provider under Alibaba Group, has launched a self-developed liquid-cooling technology on the processors in its data center ahead of the shopping spree, as part of its efforts to be more environmentally friendly.
The new tech involves a special liquid coolant whose function is similar to soaking Alibaba's numerous processors in cool water. Test results have shown total energy consumption is expected to be reduced by more than 70 percent.
Alibaba now offers computing services with more than 1 million processors. It would save a large amount of resources if every processor consumed less energy, the company said.