By Jonathan Davies

The Chinese internet giant Alibaba said it sold £4.4bn ($6.96bn) worth of goods in the first 17 hours of China's annual 'Singles' Day'.

'Singles' Day' is one of the world's biggest shopping days, like "Cyber Monday" in the US. Last year, Alibaba hit sales of $3.1bn in the first 12 hours of 'Singles' Day'.

Alibaba said it expected to break sales records.

"I bet the number [of goods bought] is going to be scary," said Alibaba's executive chairman Jack Ma last week.

Mr Ma said he expects around 200 million packages to be shipped throughout the day and Alibaba said it had already made sales of $4.9bn before midday.

'Singles' Day' started in 1993 when a group of university students wanted an 'anti-Valentine's Day', where single people were encouraged to buy for themselves.

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