Alibaba announced that more than $7 billion USD (47.5 billion RMB) of gross merchandise volume (GMV) was settled through Alipay in the first two hours of the 2016 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.

Millions of viewers watched the Alibaba Group 2016 11.11 Global Shopping Festival Countdown Gala live in the hours leading up to the official midnight start of November 11. The gala was held in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

Here are three ways how Alibaba prepared the gala to take its flagship event up another notch this year.

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Eva Yoo

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at evayoo@technode.com