Alibaba kicked off its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival on November 11 at midnight in China, and, in the first minute and eight seconds, gross merchandise volume (GMV) settled through the Alipay service reached $1 billion. In the festival’s first hour, Alipay GMV reached $12 billion.
In the lead-up to the shopping event, Alibaba’s video streaming platform Youku hosted its fifth annual countdown gala, which included interactive performances from Taylor Swift and other international and China-based stars. Hosted in Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena, the gala broadcast live across nearly 30 platforms and TV channels.
The 11.11 shopping festival began in 2009 with 27 merchants participating in an event developed to raise awareness about the value of online shopping. This year’s event featureD more than 200,000 brands, Alibaba stated. The top five countries selling to China through the retailer’s cross-border platforms by GMV: Japan, United States, South Korea, Australia and Germany.
According to the company, the final gross merchandise volume total reached $38.38 billion, up from $30.8 billion generated during last year’s event.