This week, Alibaba Group’s cloud computing arm joined forces with a Saudi Arabian telecoms firm to launch a data center in the country.
In other news, Alibaba-owned department store chain Intime announced a program to reward customers who recycle their second-hand clothes.
Last but certainly not least, logistics provider Cainiao Network became the official provider of cross-border delivery services for Pakistan’s largest e-commerce platform Daraz.
Alibaba Cloud-backed Joint Venture Launches Data Center in Saudi Arabia
Alibaba Cloud joined forces with Saudi Telecom Company Group and other local partners to launch cloud services in Saudi Arabia this week.
The joint venture, known as General Cloud Computing Company for Information Technology, opened two data centers in the capital city of Riyadh. The data centers will provide a wide range of cloud computing services, including storage, network, and database, to meet the country’s increasing demand for digital transformation.
The JV “is a significant milestone towards our commitment to forging collaborations with local partners to boost the digital transformation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Selina Yuan, Alibaba Group VP & Alibaba Cloud Intelligence International President, in a statement.
Intime Rewards Second-hand Clothes Recycling
Out with the new, in with the old! Brick-and-mortar retailer Intime has joined forces with 16 brands in China to encourage customers to go green by recycling their clothing.
Dedicated recycling boxes at Intime locations will be available for shoppers to give their used clothing a second life while also earning green points on Alipay that can be redeemed through the app’s tree-planting initiative.
Intime also offers coupons to reward customers who support a low-carbon lifestyle.
So far, roughly 60 recycling stations are up and running around the country, predominantly in Zhejiang province, and these locations have taken in goods from over 500 people.
Some donations will go to less developed areas in China; the remainder will be turned into new items.
Cainiao to Provide Logistics Services for Daraz for Cross-Border Deliveries
Pakistani e-commerce platform Daraz tapped Alibaba’s logistics network Cainiao as its official cross-border logistics provider this week.
Over 1,800 merchants on Daraz can access cross-border logistics services provided by Cainiao, backed up by last-mile delivery services from local carriers.
Cainiao will launch 13 air cargo trips per week from China to Pakistan and eight flights from China to Bangladesh, which will cut logistics costs by 10% and drive a 20-25% rise in delivery efficiency, Cainiao estimated.
“Together with the Daraz team, we look forward to enabling the e-commerce growth in South Asia and empowering local consumers with more e-commerce options,” said Shawn Louis, General Manager, APAC, at Cainiao Global Export.
Daraz merchants who also sell on other Alibaba e-commerce platforms will be able to consolidate all their parcels for shipping through Cainiao. Consumers and merchants can track packages’ shipping status in real-time with boxes affixed with the Cainiao electronic shipping labels.
ABH Entrepreneur Competition Extends Deadline
Start-up competition Africa’s Business Heroes will be accepting applications from across the African continent until June 20, organizers said this week to give entrants more time to complete submissions and due to the high volume of applications.
Now in its third year, the event puts entrepreneurs and company founders in front of judging panels to win mentorship, training and a share of a $1.5 million grant.
“It is heartening to have seen a tremendous response from entrepreneurs across Africa this year. We aim to have all the countries and regions of Africa well-represented,” Zahra Baitie-Boateng, partnerships and programs head at ABH, said in a statement.
So far, competition organizers have received applications from people in every African state, with women making up more than 30% of entries.
To apply, follow the link here
Domestic Tourism Rebounds During Dragon Boat Festival
Chinese tourists reconnected with their home country during June’s three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday last week, sales on Alibaba’s travel platform Fliggy show.
Cross-province travel bookings increased 82% compared with the Labor holiday from May 3 to May 5, while train ticket purchases jumped 70%.
Hangzhou to the south and Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, were the most popular destinations, Fliggy said in a statement. Bookings at four or five-star hotels in the former rose 300% over the holiday.
Despite only recently coming out of months of pandemic-related lockdowns, Shanghai also saw an uptick in tourism at local sites such as the Pearl TV Tower and the city zoo.
Retailer Reboot: Alibaba Lends Merchants Helping Hand Ahead of 6.18
Alibaba is helping merchants across its e-commerce platform shake off the post-lockdown cobwebs for the 6.18 Mid-Year Shopping Festival.
“Ensuring stability of supply chain and logistics amid the uncertainties is the best way to improve consumption sentiment and foster a more positive environment for business operations,” said Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang during a quarterly earnings call in May.
Leveraging its entire ecosystem, Alibaba lends a hand to ensure parcels arrive on time for customers and merchants can pay their suppliers earlier. The group also rolled out courses and tools to help retailers resolve consumers’ Covid-related complaints as shopping gets underway.
Read more here to see how three retailers are preparing for 6.18 sales with Alibaba’s help
Alibaba’s Cainiao Delivers Change Ahead of World Environment Day
Alibaba’s logistics platform Cainiao Network issued its inaugural social responsibility report last week to engage consumers and business partners in sustainable practices for the benefit of people and the planet alike.
The delivery service has developed an end-to-end green logistics system from purchase to delivery, including paperless shipping labels, smart route planning, recycling, and solar-powered warehouses.
“Cainiao provided innovative solutions for the enterprises and consumers it serves…, which actively contributed to China and the whole world’s carbon goals,” said Bin Han, Chinese secretary-general of a United Nations’ corporate sustainability initiative called Global Compact, on May 26.
The alternative is grim: If nothing changes, the domestic logistics industry will deliver 150 billion parcels in 2025, which will make up 1.1% of China’s total emissions, per CarbonStop estimates.
Learn how Cainiao is making positive change here
Lazada Appoints James Dong as CEO
Alibaba Group’s Southeast Asian e-commerce platform Lazada named James Dong as chief executive officer last week.
“[James is] a well-liked leader among locals, passionately sharing his knowledge to cultivate a strong local bench force,” a Lazada spokesperson said in a statement.
Dong will be based at the company’s recently launched regional headquarters in Singapore called Lazada One.
Outgoing head Chun Li, who helmed the online shopping company from 2020, will continue to serve as a board member and advisor to Lazada Group Chairman Jiang Fan.
Read more here