Chinese workers sort parcels, most of which are from online shopping, at a distribution center of STO Express in Wenzhou city, east China's Zhejiang province, 12 November 2014.
China's largest Internet retailer rang up more than $9 billion during the country's biggest online shopping holiday, smashing last year's figure to set a record for a single day of sales. Analysts said the "Singles' Day" figures from e-commerce giant Alibaba show a continuing shift to online shopping over brick-and-mortar stores at a time of slowing economic growth in China. Singles' Day was invented by Chinese college students in the 1990s as an anti-Valentine's Day when people could buy something for themselves. It was set for November 11 because of the date's four "ones". But Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group, which is known for its retail sites Taobao and Tmall.com, turned it into a day of online shopping for all with bargain deals. Other Chinese online retailers also have followed suit. In 2012, Alibaba posted sales totaling $3 billion on the Singles' Day, surpassing Cyber Monday in the United States. Last year's total was $5.71 billion. Alibaba Group announced this year's record sales of 57.1 billion yuan ($9.32 billion) for Tuesday shortly after midnight. During Singles' Day, a giant screen at the company's headquarters shows the sales figures updating in real time