Chinese e-shoppers spend billions on Singles Day

China's online shoppers are engaging in a rare bright spot for its cooling economy — a quirky holiday dubbed "Singles Day" that has grown into the world's busiest day for e-commerce.

The country's biggest e-commerce brand, Alibaba Group, said Friday sales by the thousands of retailers on its platforms passed 62.6 billion yuan ($9 billion) in the first 10 hours of the day. Rivals including, and Suning offered bargains on clothing, smartphones, travel packages and other goods to attract shoppers.

The spending gives a boost to the ruling Communist Party's efforts to nurture consumer-based economic growth and reduce reliance on trade and investment. E-commerce sales in China rose by 26.1 percent in the first nine months of the year.