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Singles Day, by the numbers

How long would it take you to make $1 billion?

That's the amount that retail giant Alibaba made in just the first 8 minutes of sales on Wednesday. Alibaba's Singles Day promotions went on to bring in a record-breaking $14.3 billion in sales over just 24 hours.

According to Alibaba and Adobe data compiled by consumer intelligence company Bomoda, sales took off early in the day and slowed to a steady but still impressive rate throughout the retail holiday.

Despite its wild success in China, Singles Day isn't nearly as popular in the United States; projections by Adobe estimated that U.S. sales would be about $1.4 billion in all.

Singles Day — once an obscure holiday celebrating single people — was transformed into a retail holiday by Alibaba seven years ago. Since then, it has far outpaced Cyber Monday in the United States. The Chinese holiday will bring in more than four times as much as is expected from Cyber Monday in the U.S. later this month.