Alibaba Group said sales on its marketplaces surpassed $2 billion within the first hour of local holiday Single's Day, a day of steep retail discounts that is heavily promoted by Alibaba. Alibaba said the first $1 billion in gross merchandise volume was settled through payments app Alipay within the first 18 minutes of Nov. 11. The e-commerce giant is expecting to make $8.2 billion in total from this holiday, which would mark a 43% increase from $5.75 billion in 2013. Industry tracker IDC expects Alibaba to easily surpass that. The 11.11 Shopping Festival was invented by Alibaba in 2009, playing off a two-decade-old holiday in the world's largest consumer market that celebrates bachelors -- sort of like an anti-Valentine's Day. Last year, sales surpassed the combined online sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S. Shares of Alibaba climbed 2.5% to $117.46 in recent trade.
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