The Alibaba News Roundup is a weekly digest of events, initiatives and happenings across the company. This week’s coverage looks at continuing efforts to help businesses resume operations amid coronavirus concerns as well as Taobao Live’s broadcast of panda cubs.
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Delivery Capabilities Restored Across China
Alibaba’s logistics arm, Cainiao Network, announced this week that its operations had returned to pre-coronavirus levels in all areas of China outside of Hubei Province. With close to 3 million express-logistics personnel back at work nationwide, the daily volume of processed packages has already exceeded that of last year’s. This resumption of logistics capabilities represents an important step to economic and operational recovery for businesses across the country, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, Cainiao and its delivery partners have rolled out a series of initiatives to support businesses and other affected communities, including with the opening of the Green Channel to expedite delivery of medical supplies.
Taobao Extends Free Advanced Settlements
Taobao and MYBank will extend their free advanced settlement services to the end of June. The service, which allows merchants to receive payments as soon as orders are fulfilled instead of waiting for consumers to confirm receipt of products, was introduced in early February as part of Alibaba Group and Ant Financial’s 20 measures to support SMEs during the coronavirus outbreak and was originally planned to run until the end of March. So far, MYBank has issued more than RMB 30 billion ($4.3 billion) in advanced settlement funding, which has ensured steady cash flows for businesses and aided in their operational recovery.
Lazada Ramps up Support for Cross-Border Businesses
Lazada, Alibaba’s flagship e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia, announced a series of measures to help cross-border businesses recover from coronavirus-related disruptions to their operations. Having already lowered international rates for deliveries to Thailand last week, Lazada further reduced customer shipping fees for certain packages to Bangkok on Monday. International freight rates for Vietnam will also be reduced by up to 96% starting from March 16, and merchants can benefit from reduced fees for Malaysia eWTP warehouse storage and international shipping to Malaysia. Lazada will roll out reduced shipping rates across more markets in the coming weeks, as well as provide additional support in areas such as charter-flight arrangements and return policies.
IKEA Joins Tmall
The world’s largest furniture retailer opened a virtual store on Tmall this week, the first time it has launched a sales channel through a third party. The online store offers over 3,800 products and furnishing solutions and drew more than 1.55 million shoppers on its opening day. Read more about IKEA and Tmall’s collaboration here.
Pandas on Taobao Live
Things got black and white on Taobao Live on Monday as the livestreaming platform hosted an online broadcast featuring China’s national treasure – the giant panda. Joining forces with the iPanda channel, Taobao Live brought viewers to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding to meet the center’s adorable cubs. The broadcast was part of Taobao Live’s ongoing online Spring Tour series, which launched last month with an excursion to eight national museums that attracted close to 10 million online visitors in a single day.
Alipay Shares Plans to Open up Platform
Alipay, Ant Financial’s payment and lifestyle platform, shared its plans to support the digital transformation of 40 million service providers across China over the next three years. The announcement represents Alipay’s ongoing commitment to helping the service sector embrace digital technologies to unlock new growth opportunities. Read more about Alipay’s plans here.
Alibaba Hosts Virtual Summit for Australian and New Zealand Businesses
Alibaba Group is set to host a free, three-day webinar program for Australian and New Zealand businesses on March 24-26. The Alibaba Virtual Summit is an opportunity for enterprises to gain insights into Chinese consumers, hear from industry leaders and also learn about key business solutions within the Alibaba ecosystem. There will also be sessions dedicated to Alibaba Cloud and Alipay. Click here to register and learn more about the summit.
Kaola Establishes Quality Alliance
Cross-border e-commerce platform Kaola on Wednesday launched a Quality Alliance with more than 20 domestic and international inspection and certification organizations, including SGS Group, T√úV Rheinland and the China Association for Consumer Products Quality and Safety Promotion. By pooling together data and technological resources, the alliance can provide improved services for authenticity verification and quality assessment to consumers, merchants and suppliers of imported goods. With the expanded capabilities enabled by the alliance, Kaola has established an authentication center for fashion items, as well as a lab for cosmetic ingredients testing.
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