The event 11/11 brings good news for online shopping retailer, Alibaba, as their Single’s day shopping extravaganza has managed to fetch $12 billion in just 2 hours and has already surpassed last year’s sales for Singles Day with nearly $18 billion USD in merchandise sold. Singles Day, a Chinese holiday, began as a protest against the celebration of Valentine’s Day by college students in the 1990s. The event’s date 11/11 was associated with unattached singles, referred to as “bare sticks”. Alibaba didn’t invent the holiday, but since 2009 they have been successfully able to cash in on the opportunity by gathering global attention for their initiative. This is very similar to annual festive sales such as Flipkart’s Big billion days in India.

Single’s Day is no less than any cultural phenomenon. Alibaba hosted a celebratory gala in Shanghai on Friday evening before the e-commerce giant’s annual shopping extravaganza rolled in. Celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Pharrell Williams, Karen Mok and Maria Sharapova hosted a countdown, moments before 60,000 global brands released their Singles Day sales deals to shoppers. One offer, from an online alcohol brand Jiang Xiao Bai, allowed 33 fast-moving customers to avail access to a lifetime supply of grain liquor known as baijiu by making a single payment of 11,111 yuan, or $1,673.

Singles Day, powered through Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace, will testify the company’s logistics network. The company has promised to deliver certain products in just within an hour. Alibaba, in advance of the shopping festival, converted nearly 100,000 stores across China into “smart stores” capable of processing payment using facial recognition and other advanced technologies. It seems like Alibaba is having a great year already. The company has more than doubled its stock price this time with a market cap of $475 billion.