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Happy ‘Singles Day’: Chinese Spend Billions in Annual Shopping Spree

A screen shows the value of goods being transacted at Alibaba Group's 11.11 Singles Day global shopping festival in Shanghai, China, Nov. 11, 2017.

Chinese consumers are spending billions of dollars shopping online for anything from diapers to diamonds on “Singles Day,” a day of promotions that has grown into the world’s biggest e-commerce event.

China’s biggest e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group, said sales by retailers on its platforms had topped $19 billion by midafternoon Saturday in a count that started at midnight.

Its main rival, online retailer, which tracks sales starting from Nov. 1 through to the actual day, had topped $16.7 billion.

Starting at midnight, diamonds, Chilean frozen salmon, tires, diapers, beer, shoes, handbags, and appliances were shipped out from’s distribution centers on trucks bound for deliveries across China.

Singles Day was begun by Chinese college students in the 1990s as a version of Valentine’s Day for people without romantic partners.