So, it is China’s version of Black Friday or Yakata Sales.

China calls it "Singles Day" and it takes place annually on November 11.

In this year’s edition, which took place this Saturday, China's smartphone-wielding masses unleashed billions of dollars in e-commerce spending.

It has now emerged the undisputed world's biggest one-day online shopping festival.

The event was launched in 2009 by e-commerce giant Alibaba and kicked off at midnight and ended up shattering the previous year's sales mark, as it does every year.

Eighteen hours later, at 6 pm on Saturday, Alibaba said the gross value of sales processed by its online payment system, Alipay was nearing $21 billion - that is slightly below Nigeria’s 2018 budget of $28.2 billion.

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That blew well past the $17.8 billion logged over the full 24 hours last year, which itself marked a 32% year-on-year increase.

The yearly display of rising Chinese consumer spending power has become crucial for manufacturers and retailers across the country, accounting for a significant share of annual orders for many businesses.

Five minutes after midnight, Alipay was processing 256,000 payment transactions per second, doubling last year's high-water mark, Alibaba said.

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.

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