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Nov 11, 3:51 AM EST

Chinese spend billions online shopping on 'Singles Day'



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BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese consumers are spending billions of dollars shopping online for anything from diapers to diamonds on "Singles Day," a day of promotions that has grown into the world's biggest e-commerce event.

China's biggest e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group, said sales by retailers on its platforms had topped $19 billion by mid-afternoon Saturday in a count that started at midnight.

Its main rival, online retailer JD.com, which tracks sales starting from Nov. 1 through to the actual day, had topped $16.7 billion.

Starting at midnight, diamonds, Chilean frozen salmon, tires, diapers, beer, shoes, handbags, and appliances were shipped out from JD.com's distribution centers on trucks bound for deliveries across China.

Singles Day was begun by Chinese college students in the 1990s as a version of Valentine's Day for people without romantic partners.

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