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Alibaba's Singles' Day Is a Grand Slam (Update 1)

Updated from 11:46 a.m. EST to provide more detailed analysis in the fourth through sixth paragraphs.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Yahoo! (YHOO - Get Report) shares rose 1.74% to $33.69 on news that Alibaba, in which it holds a 24% stake, did more than $5.7 billion in payments volume on China's Singles Day, setting a new record.

Alibaba, which is preparing to go public, said in an emailed statement that its Alipay unit, which is similar to eBay's (EBAY) PayPal, saw 35,018,506,867 worth of Chinese yuan gross merchant volume on Monday for Taobao Marketplace and The Web site attracted more than 402 million unique users.

The company also noted this in a tweet.

Singles' Day in China is a sort of Valentine's Day for singles and has turned into a lucrative event for e-commerce companies, which launch a flood of promotions.  By comparison, U.S. consumers spent $1.46 billion on Cyber Monday, the day after Thanksgiving when people return to work and with retailers offering promotions via the Internet.

The 11.11 Shopping Festival, or "Single's Day" as it was known previously, started in 2009 with 27 merchants.  There were over 20,000 brands that took place in the promotion this year -- Adidas, Nike, Gap, Toys "R" Us, Uniqlo, Forever 21 and others, the company noted in a press release.

Of the $5.7 billion in sales, approximately $877 million came from mobile sales, more than five times that of last year, accounting for 21% of the company's overall transactions.

Alibaba's Executive Chairman Jack Ma noted that the company is participating in the event to promote healthy development of it, and allow merchants to thank consumers. "We will continue to do 11.11 but not for the sake of big numbers, whether it is 50 billion, 80 billion or even 100 billion, what we hope for is the healthy development of this festival and not just to blindly pursue a numerical goal," Ma said in a press release. "We hope to turn 11.11 into a day where merchants can thank consumers."

Yahoo! stands to benefit from the pending initial public offering of Alibaba, which some analysts say could value the company near $120 billion.  On Yahoo!'s third-quarter earnings call, the company noted it will be selling less of its stake in Alibaba than had been initially planned. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo! will now sell 208 million shares during the upcoming Alibaba IPO, down from 261.5 million.

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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