Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba made billions of dollars in sales within minutes of its Singles Day sale Saturday.
While official figures have yet to be compiled, CNBC said the company racked up $5 billion in transactions within the first 15 minutes of the day and the Financial Times reported $8.4 billion in the first hour.
Historically, Chinese singletons have celebrated Nov. 11 as Singles Day -- because numerically it is written as 11/11. Alibaba began running sales on the day in 2009 and it has since become the country's equivalent of the United States Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
But Singles Day outpaces traditional holiday sales days in the United States. In 2016, Alibaba had $17.8 billion in sales on Nov. 11, more than the $12.8 billion spent in the United States in the four days after Thanksgiving.
"This is a gigantic day for the Alibaba economy," said Joe Tsai, executive vice-chairman.
About 97 percent of sales in the first 30 seconds of Singles Day were through mobile devices.