SHANGHAI – Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba says its Singles’ Day sales extravaganza hit US$25.4 billion over the weekend, smashing its own record from last year and cementing it as the world’s biggest shopping event.

Once a celebration for China’s lonely hearts, Singles’ Day 11/11 has become an annual 24-hour buying frenzy that exceeds the combined sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the USA, offering a barometer for China’s consumers.

At midnight pre-orders drove Alibaba’s platforms to ring up $10 billion in just over an hour.

As tills shut down at midnight on Saturday, Alibaba’s live sales-ticker registered 168.3 billion yuan (A$33 billion), up 39 percent from last year.