Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba brought in $1 billion of sales in about 17 minutes of its Singles Day sale — Singles Day being the equivalent of Black Friday in the company’s home country.
Compared to that, it took quite a long time for sales to get to $2 billion.
Singles Day began in the early 1990s, and it’s a numerological holiday: it celebrates the four 1s in the date, 11/11. Something of an anti-Valentine’s day in China, the day is marked by parties and outings for single people — as well as a torrent of online shopping. Alibaba brought in $5.75 billion on Singles Day 2013.
The company recently went public in the U.S. with a market capitalization of $230 billion — larger than Amazon and close to Amazon. It holds the title of the largest IPO of all time, having raised $21.8 million.