Singles Day: Alibaba closes in on record sales

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E-commerce giant Alibaba may smash the sales record for its annual Singles Day event. About 15 hours into the event, sales had reached 91.2bn yuan ($13.4bn; £10.6bn), the firm said. Last year’s record was $14.3bn. But some have questioned the accuracy of the numbers, amid claims of inflated sales data at online retailers across China. Merchants passing off counterfeit goods as genuine is also an industry problem. Alibaba reported 85% of purchases had been made on mobile phones during Singles Day.

“The company has also been experimenting with new technology including augmented reality and virtual reality to give shoppers other ways of buying items.”

And the event had a blistering start with sales hitting $5bn (£4bn) in the first hour, Alibaba said, though that total included pre-orders made by customers who could “lock in” prices. It took 90 minutes to hit that milestone in 2015.

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