This week, Alibaba Group said it would send over 1 million oximeters to rural China to help village clinics cope with the recent surge in coronavirus cases.
In other news, the group’s logistics arm Cainiao Network is subsidizing doorstep deliveries and boosting the income of couriers in China.
Gamers rejoice! Soon you won’t need to wear cables or backpacks as Alibaba’s research institute DAMO Academy is making a fully wireless virtual reality gaming experience possible.
Alibaba Donates Over 1M Oximeters To Rural China
Alibaba announced an RMB 125 million ($18.5 million) package on Saturday to send over 1 million oximeters to 600,000 clinics in rural China to aid pandemic relief efforts.
Coronavirus infections have surged across China of late. Oximeters, which detect if patients’ blood is depleted of oxygen, are in short supply in many village clinics in rural China.
Alibaba said the initiative aims to cover all major areas in rural China, with each village clinic getting two oximeters. Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao said it had shipped 1 million oximeters within four days.
The donation is timely, as millions of people travel home for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday. The migration risks potentially spreading the virus to rural communities where healthcare services are patchy and stretched thin.
Cainiao Pledges RMB 200M For More Doorstep Deliveries
Cainiao said this week that it would invest RMB 200 million to provide subsidies and rewards to couriers starting in the Lunar New Year.
The investment aims to boost income for couriers working on doorstep deliveries in older and remote communities without elevators. Caniao said it expects more packages to be delivered during the Lunar New Year holidays as people gather with their families for reunions and order gifts for each other.
Cainiao expects the volume of packages this Lunar New Year to rise 30% year-over-year.
Cainaio said it added more workers to be on shift in sorting facilities, as well as more frontline drivers and couriers to ensure on-time doorstep deliveries. There will be a quarter more people on shift this Lunar New Year compared with the same period last year.
DAMO Academy Taps 5G to Make VR Games More Immersive
Alibaba’s research institute DAMO Academy is making it easier for gamers globally to enjoy a fully wireless VR gaming experience.
Its XG Lab, which focuses on network communications technologies, revealed this week that it is reinventing VR games with 5G networks and edge cloud computing.
Until recently, VR game operators have had to cap their games at around 20 minutes because of computing power constraints. Gamers need to wear heavy backpacks containing battery-powered gaming laptops for computing power support.
The research institute has tapped 5G technology to move all visual computing to the edge of the 5G network, removing the need for both cables and backpacks for gamers. It also made it possible for up to six gamers to play the game simultaneously so that players can interact with each other in the game.
DAMO Academy said it improved the XR headsets, developed adaptative software coding, and optimized a radio resource scheduling algorithm on the network side to reduce latency to 20 milliseconds and keep signal processing at 100Mbps for six players simultaneously. Because of the technical improvement, players won’t feel disoriented and nauseous when playing.
Alibaba Cloud Launches Global Developer Community
Alibaba Cloud launched this week a hub that helps global developers connect with their peers and accelerate the development of their applications.
The community, dubbed the Apsara Developer Community, offers global developers a slew of development tools, training materials, and tutorials. Developers will also find at the hub community events and competitions to showcase their latest applications and build their network.
“The developer community is an integral part of Alibaba Cloud’s ecosystem,” said Selina Yuan, President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence International Business Unit.
It also unveiled this week a platform to help developers build super apps, which combine mini-apps that provide different services into one interface. Alibaba Cloud said the platform can help developers build super apps within hours more cost-effectively.
Alibaba’s Alvin Liu On What China’s Reopening Means For Cross-Border Retail In 2023
As China eases restrictions on cross-border travel, retailers from Hong Kong to Honolulu are preparing to welcome back Chinese tourists after a roughly three-year hiatus.
The return of quarantine-free travel from Jan. 8 will give Chinese travelers a chance to discover a smorgasbord of overseas brands.
“When China reopens, Chinese tourists will be back in Europe and Japan and they will be exploring more local products,” said Alvin Liu, President of Alibaba’s B2C Retail Business Group.
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2023’s Top 10 Tech Trends By Alibaba’s DAMO Academy
2023 will be the year when tech advances, ranging from generative AI to cloud-native security, will reshape industries and fuel innovations.
For the fifth year running, Alibaba’s research institute DAMO Academy laid out its predictions in an in-depth report mapping out the year ahead.
“The innovation driven by the advancement of technologies and their industry-specific application has become an irreversible trend,” said Jeff Zhang, Head of DAMO Academy.
Click here to see the tech trends that DAMO Academy is banking on for 2023.
US Guitar Brand Fender Sees Continuous Growth In China Via Tmall
Fender is obviously hitting the right note in China as the US-based guitar brand says its customers and sales have grown continuously in the country since 2018.
Fender joined Alibaba’s B2C marketplace Tmall five years ago. It offers educational content, including livestreaming and videos to engage and support guitar players throughout their musical journey.
Edward Cole, President of Fender Asia, shared how Tmall helps Fender reach consumers in China.
“I can’t think of another platform that gives us that access to so many people in an educated and trusted way as Tmall in China,” said Cole.
Alibaba Blends Retail With Technology to Build Green Supply Chains
Alibaba is leveraging its platform power and cloud computing capabilities to create greener supply chains in China.
The platform company’s online grocery service Tmall Supermarket has teamed up with Energy Expert, Alibaba Cloud’s AI-powered sustainability and energy management system, to help companies measure and reduce their carbon emissions.
“Besides communicating the product’s environmental impact to consumers, we also want to encourage suppliers and manufactures to adopt green measures,” Pei Yunlong, head of green supply chain at Tmall Supermarket, told Alizila in Mandarin.
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