Alibaba Group broke its sales record in the first hour during its mid-year shopping event, which allowed brands to tap into the less-developed regions in China with 1.5 million new products on its Taobao and Tmall platforms.

The e-commerce giant said its gross merchandise volume in the first hour exceeded that of the first 10 hours last year after the 618 Mid-Year Shopping Festival debuted at midnight on Saturday, reported.

It also took less than 12 hours after the start to surpass the sales of last year’s full-day figure. In the first hour, top brands like Apple, Xiaomi, Haier, Aux, Midea, L ‘Oreal, Lancome, Nike and Adidas each notched more than 100 million yuan (US$14.43 million) in sales.

Among them, Apple sold more than 100 million yuan worth of products in two minutes and 45 seconds, while Midea and Nike both hit that mark in four minutes.

The company said more than 200,000 brands and retailers participated in this year’s shopping event, which aims to get them to tap into China’s less developed regions. According to Chinese market-research firm Analysys, the number of people living in smaller cities and rural areas accounts for nearly 70% of China’s total population.

Jiang Fan, the president of Taobao and Tmall, said shoppers in these areas were looking for a lifestyle upgrade, which means a big potential market for the retailers. That was proved as Tmall’s figures showed that more than half of the sales generated on its Luxury Pavilion for premier brands came from customers outside China’s first- and second-tier cities.

Luxury Pavilion includes brands such as Burberry, Hugo Boss, La Mer, Maserati and Guerlain (LVMH) and Zenith, offering products ranging from clothes and skincare products to watches and luxury cars.

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