$56 bln and counting: Alibaba's Singles' Day

China's Alibaba hauled in more than $56 billion in sales as its Singles' Day shopping extravaganza got into full swing.

That was the total by Wednesday (November 11) morning, as online buyers showed up in big numbers.

The numbers will be watched by economists as a gauge of China's economic recovery post-virus.

Singles' Day is the world's biggest sales event - larger even than Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S.

This year it runs over four main days - and has so far brought sellers 16 times as many orders by value as Amazon's Prime Day last month.

The performance likely comes as a relief for Alibaba a week after it lost about 10% of its market value.

That when regulators blocked the listing of financial technology affiliate Ant Group.

Its Singles' Day approach this year was to begin sales earlier to give lesser-known brands more exposure.

It set primary discount days for November 1st to 3rd, as well as the 11th.

The event was launched in 2009, and is usually an extravagant one-day event with live performances by celebrities.

This year's big star turn came from U.S. singer Katy Perry, though it was via livestream.