Alibaba News Roundup: DingTalk Hits 500 Million Users; Lazada Debuts Cross-border Logistics Upgrades For 11.11; HSBC Sponsors Jumpstarter 2022 Competition; Taobao and Freshippo Adopt Senior-Friendly Features

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Alibaba News Roundup: DingTalk Hits 500 Million Users; Lazada Debuts Cross-border Logistics Upgrades For 11.11; HSBC Sponsors Jumpstarter 2022 Competition; Taobao and Freshippo Adopt Senior-Friendly Features

Coworkers video-conferencing over DingTalk. Photo: Alibaba Group

This week DingTalk, one of China’s most widely used workplace apps, said that its number of users crossed 500 million.

In other news, Southeast Asian e-commerce platform Lazada partnered with Alibaba Group’s smart logistics arm Cainiao Network to provide faster order fulfillment just in time for China’s biggest shopping festival 11.11. Meanwhile British bank HSBC joined with the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund to sponsor the Jumpstarter 2022 start-up competition.

Alibaba’s virtual marketplace Taobao introduced a version of its app for senior citizens with larger text and icons, simplified navigation and voice-assisted technology.

Taobao Deals, a special version of the marketplace app targeting underdeveloped provinces, announced cash prizes and shipping benefits heading into the shopping season and Alibaba’s enterprise collaboration app DingTalk recorded 500 million users and rolled out a software update to support corporate users’ app experience. 

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DingTalk Marks 500 Million Users 

DingTalk, one of China’s most widely used workplace apps, said on Wednesday that its user numbers worldwide crossed 500 million in August, giving Alibaba a competitive edge in China’s office communication market.

The workplace chat and collaboration platform also took the opportunity to announce software upgrades, from personalized in-app virtual workstations to better task management systems. Nine months ago, DingTalk surpassed 400 million users globally, including more than 19 million organizations and corporations.

“The high-quality growth of DingTalk comes from not only the increase in daily active users or monthly active users but also our ability to discover and solve user problems,” said Ye Jun, DingTalk’s president.

Cainiao, Lazada Team Up on US$7 Million Cross-border Logistics Program Ahead of 11.11

Cainiao and Lazada, Alibaba’s flagship e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia, joined forces this week to create a US$7 million incentive program encouraging merchants to improve their product offerings and speed up deliveries for Southeast Asian consumers in time for this year’s 11.11.

The announcement comes on the heels of a pilot launched over the summer among 4,000 Lazada merchants who received marketing vouchers to promote their products, resulting in a return on investment of 20 times for the e-commerce site.

After upgrading its cross-border logistics network in partnership with Cainiao, Lazada can now guarantee that Chinese goods will reach Southeast Asian consumers within six days, with 99% of parcels shipping from China within 24 hours. 

The delivery service has also added a warehouse near the border between China and Vietnam to support Lazada as a quick and easy one-stop-shop for Southeast Asia.

HSBC Joins Alibaba to Sponsor Jumpstarter 2022 Competition

HSBC will be the title sponsor of next year’s Jumpstarter Global Pitch Competition, the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund said this week.

Entering its seventh year, the start-up competition involves the 100 top entrants pitching to a panel of judges. The 10 finalists will compete for US$4 million of funding. Teams that do not make it into the final round will take part in the Alibaba Netpreneur Training Program.

“Jumpstarter 2022 offers an excellent platform for entrepreneurial talents to capture the ample market opportunities in this vibrant city cluster, and unleash their potential over time,” said Christina Ong, head of business banking and commercial banking at HSBC.

Entries will be accepted up until November 28 from start-ups less than five years old that plan to expand into Hong Kong or another Greater Bay Area locale in the near future.

Alibaba Makes Its Taobao App More User-Friendly for the Elderly

Taobao rolled out a version of the shopping app that’s more accessible for senior users. Piloted ahead of China’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, Taobao’s “senior mode” features larger text and icons, simplified navigation and voice-assisted technology. It also allows senior citizens to search for products using voice commands. 

The homepage highlights popular games in the silver-haired market, including the Baba Farm program, where users tend virtual crops to unlock discounts for agricultural produce.

“In the future, we will explore new ways to make online shopping easier for seniors, such as functions that allow their children to help them browse and select products,” said Shao Qian, the project manager overseeing the new service. 

Click here to learn more about the updates

‘Freshippo Neighbor’ to Launch Self-Branded Product Line Targeting Elderly Users

Also looking to be more inclusive, Alibaba’s Freshippo Neighbor said this week it will launch large-package, low-priced, self-branded products to meet the needs of elderly consumers, who account for nearly a quarter of the service’s users and have a purchasing frequency 50% higher than that of younger people.

Its 400 community-oriented grocery pickup stations across China’s urban areas rely on New Retail-driven supermarket chain Freshippo’s existing supply chain and product procurement and sales system to provide more than 20,000 kinds of products for consumers within a 500-meter radius of Freshippo Neighbor stations.

Consumers can use the Freshippo app to place their order and schedule a time to pick up their goods at their closest Freshippo Neighbor the next day.  
According to Freshippo Neighbor’s figures, elderly users pay more attention to product quality than other user groups and consider the whole family’s nutritional needs. Besides eggs, the most popular products among older users of the service include fresh milk, imported beef brisket and rose green tea.

Alibaba’s Taobao Deals Announces Prizes, Free Shipping to Mark 11.11

Taobao Deals, which serves underdeveloped provinces, launched a series of cash and product prizes as well as deeply reduced shipping fees from now until November 11.

Thousands of “red envelopes” worth more than RMB1 billion (US$160 million) will be distributed to users. At least 10,000 products will be eligible for free shipping every day, while 25 million more items will have an RMB1 delivery fee.

“Whether it’s direct supply from agricultural production areas or direct sale of factory goods, Taobao Deals leverages its supply chain advantages for the consumer at one end and the industrial sector at the other,” said Alibaba Group Vice President Wang Hai at the launch.

British activewear brand Sweaty Betty entered the China market in February this year, just weeks before closing all its physical shops overnight and introducing a range of pandemic-proof digital offerings for shoppers.

How was the brand able to enter a new market while navigating the pandemic back home? Retail and consumer expert Stacey Widlitz spoke with Sweaty Betty CEO Julia Straus to find out.

Redmart by Lazada Marks 10 Years of Online Grocery Service 

RedMart, Singapore’s first fully-digital, and largest online grocer, unveiled a 350,000 square feet West Fulfillment Centre, built at an estimated cost of close to S$100 million, and equipped with state-of-the-art automation technology to cater to the future grocery needs of Singaporeans. 

Redmart, which Lazada acquired in 2016, marks 10 years of online grocery delivery in Singapore this month. Over the past decade, RedMart has fed the nation and catered to changing consumer tastes, substantially increased its product range, satisfied international palates, and supported local producers and farmers in Singapore by widening their reach to consumer audiences, and helping them to digitalize.  

Demand for grocery delivery from Singapore households which, according to international grocery research organisation, IGD, saw the value of Singapore’s online grocery market grow three-fold from S$130m in 2017, to over S$500m in 2020. This growth shows no sign of slowing, and is expected to grow by a further 35 percent by 2022.

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11.11 Global Shopping FestivalAlibaba Entrepreneurs FundDingTalkFreshippoJUMPSTARTER Global Pitch CompetitionLazadaSoutheast AsiaTaobao
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