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Singles' Day officially bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined

Singles Day
(Image credit: Alibaba)

This year shoppers spent $7.4bn during Black Friday and an additional $9.4bn on Cyber Monday but even when combined, these numbers come nowhere close to the $38bn spent during Alibaba's Singles' Day.

Alibaba Cloud has revealed new details on the core technologies used during this year's record-breaking, 24-hour global shopping festival with the first being the third generation of its X-Dragon architecture.

The firm's X-Dragon servers are Elastic Bare Metal Servers which helped improved cost efficiency by 20 percent during this years sale. These servers are able to seamlessly integrate computing platforms, including the Elastic Compute Service (ECS) bare metal server and virtual machines, all in a single architecture.

Alibaba Cloud also developed a database called POLARDB which supported sales activity with a peak of 87 million requests processed per second during Singles' Day. The new generation of the cloud-native POLARDB database combines performance with compatibility as well as the availability of traditional enterprise databases in a cost-effective manner.

AI-enabled features

During 11.11, Alibaba's customer-service chatbot Alime Shop Assistant, supported by Alibaba DAMO Academy's machine learning technologies, handled 97 percent of online customer inquiries on the firm's e-commerce platforms Taobao and Tmall.

Alibaba DAMO Academy also provides enhanced machine translation technology for the cross-border e-commerce platform AliExpress. The technology is able to automatically translate merchant's store and product pages into 21 languages for buyers across Europe, Asia, America and the Middle East. Alibaba DAMO Academy was used 1.66bn times during this year's sale and the service translated over 200bn words into different languages.

Taobao even developed a new, real-time communications framework for audio and video on Alibaba Cloud for this year's Singles' Day. The technology managed to reduce network latency from five to seven seconds to 1.5 seconds while improving the real-time interaction experience between broadcasters and users. Video AI identified products mentioned by the broadcasters during their live streams and audiences were able to view product links simultaneously displayed onscreen.

Voice search played a role in this year's sale as well and over one million orders were placed and processed through voice command using Alibaba AI Labs' smart speaker, Tmall Genie.

Alibaba's Singles' Day continues to break records and online retailers in the US and Europe could learn a lot from studying the success of the Chinese e-commerce giant.