Alibaba created the 11.11 event as "Singles Day" back in 2009.
Alibaba said gross merchandise volume (GMV) exceeded 10bn yuan (£1bn) in a little over three minutes and the total had reached 19.1bn yuan in under six minutes - more than the entire day's sales in 2012.
By comparison, American shoppers previous year spent more than $5 billion shopping online on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, according to Adobe, which tracks such data. Additionally, the retailer hit a record $18 billion in just 13 hours, eclipsing last year's record of $17.8 billion in 24 hours. "By 2020, China's e-commerce market is set to be larger than those of the US, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and France combined", said Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels.
More than half of China's 1.3 billion people use smartphones, which have become central to daily life, used for messaging, shopping, news and entertainment, ordering taxis and meals, and serving as digital wallets for a range of point-of-sale purchases.
Alibaba launched "Singles Day" as the Chinese online answer to the late-November US "Black Friday" shopping rush, capitalising on the Chinese love of a good bargain and the growing national addiction to one-click smartphone payments. About 90 percent of transactions were done via mobile.
Shoppers around China and some 200 countries and regions scooped up discounted lobster, iPhones and refrigerators at a rate of as many as 256,000 transactions per second.
This year, the company will spread its sales to physical buildings, with 10% of China's convenience stores participating.
In any case, Alibaba.com has risen to become the largest e-commerce platforms in the world. "I have often emptied my "shopping cart" on Singles Day", Zheng said.
Alibaba managed to expand Singles Day from a local Chinese sales event to a global sales day. It already has a substantial stake in Lazada, an online retailer in South-east Asia and recently launched an electronic trading hub in Malaysia.