Alibaba's Singles' Day sales hit new high, $24.3 billion by midday

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Indeed, Alibaba slashed the price of its Tmall Genie speaker from RMB499 ($74) to RMB99 ($15) during Singles' Day 2017 to drive sales.

Alibaba is not like Amazon in that it is not a retailer.

It was created by Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce giant, which this year has racked up sales of an eye-watering $25 billion last year and is expecting to clear $35 billion this year.

This year, Alibaba is hoping to up the ante, by combining online and in-person retail opportunities ー a vision Alibaba calls "New Retail".

A disproportionately large number of sales are recorded in the first minutes of the 24-hour spending spree, when transactions are recorded for items that have been put on hold.

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The Twitter-like Weibo platform was blanketed with Singles Day-related posts on Sunday, from users proudly proclaiming they had resisted the shopping urge this year to those who cheerfully listed an array of mundane purchases.

Alibaba President Michael Evans said he was "not too concerned" about the U.S.

The chief executive, Mr Zhang, who takes over from a retiring Mr Ma as chairman next year, must prove he can carry on that legacy. "China's GDP per capita was about US$800 per person back in 1999 when I joined the company, and has risen to about US$9,000 per person today, an average across 1.3 billion people".

Earlier this month it revised down its full-year sales outlook by 4-6 percent, sending further chills through the company's stock price, which has dropped roughly 16% this year after nearly doubling in 2017. Consumers spent a total of 168.5 billion yuan ($24.3 billion) by the afternoon, the report said.

Online retail sales growth slowed to 24 percent, down 12 percentage points in the second quarter, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

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To fuel growth, Alibaba is expanding its playbook.

In just one second, 3,700 Singles' Day special edition MAC lipsticks were sold out. Worldwide expansion will be a key plank of Zhang's effort to keep breaking records. Last year, Russia, Hong Kong and the US were the top three regions outside of mainland China to buy goods during the annual event.

At the same time, Alibaba's efforts to push into the USA are sputtering. President Donald Trump said in mid-October he plans to withdraw the USA from a 192-nation treaty that gives Chinese companies discounted shipping rates for small packages sent to American consumers, making it harder for Chinese merchants to push into the market. With Singapore-based Lazada now fully under its wing, the region remains one of the company's relative bright spots.

The gross merchandise value was about 27 per cent higher than last year's tally, also a record, which was surpassed mid-afternoon on Sunday.

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