Alibaba Group posted $1 billion (6.81 billion yuan) of sales within the first five minutes of its Singles' Day sales
, a 24-hour event that may offer clues on the health of the Chinese economy and its largest online retailer. From a report on Bloomberg:Investors are keeping a close eye on the annual Nov. 11 spending blitz that dwarfs Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S., to see if Alibaba can reprise the 60 percent leap in transactions to 91.2 billion yuan it managed last year. The e-commerce giant again turned up the star-wattage for 2016, enlisting Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson, sports celebrity David Beckham, basketball legend Kobe Bryant and pop-rock band One Republic to headline a pre-sale gala and drum up international attention. Pioneered by Alibaba in 2009 and since replicated by rivals including JD.com Inc., Singles' Day has become somewhat of a barometer of Chinese consumer sentiment.