Online Chinese retail giant Alibaba Group (NYSE:BABA) have announced impressive sales so far during China’s biggest shopping day, with more than $1 billion being spent within an hour of midnight.

November 11th is ‘Singles Day’ in China, originally a day mocking Valentine’s Day for those not in relationships, in which stores offer huge discounts in a similar manner to America’s Cyber Monday. Alibaba Group have said that so far the value of merchandise it has sold online so far had surpassed last year’s total of $9.3 billion – and it is just past 4pm local time.

As speculation grows as to the health of China’s economy, Alibaba’s sales data has been closely watched as a gauge of Chinese consumption. These strong figures will come as a relief to those worried about growth in the world’s largest economy.

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