Alibaba co-opted it in 2009 as an excuse to push winter coats, and the rest is history: Since then, China’s online audience has grown to more than 800 million consumers by Alibaba’s count. Along the way, Singles Day has matured into the single biggest shopping day in the world—selling more than $25 billion in 24 hours last year. The New York Times put this into perspective: Alibaba sold $1 billion in the first two minutes, which is equivalent to what Amazon sold in 1,800 minutes (or 30 hours) of Prime Day 2017.
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