Alibaba News Roundup: Disaster Relief in Henan; Olympics Pin; Competition for African Entrepreneurs

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Alibaba News Roundup: Disaster Relief in Henan; Olympics Pin; Competition for African Entrepreneurs

Flood relief efforts(Shutterstock)

This week, Alibaba’s ecosystem swung into action to support disaster relief efforts after widespread flooding in central China. The Jack Ma Foundation announced the 50 finalists in its annual competition to discover the most promising entrepreneurs in Africa. Alibaba unveiled its digital cloud pin for the Olympic Games. In the U.S., the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation help fund research into healthcare.

Scroll down for more news from around Alibaba’s ecosystem from this week.

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Alibaba Rolls Out Support Measures In Henan After Floods

The Hangzhou-headquartered e-commerce giant donated RMB150 million (US$23.2 million) and mobilized its entire digital ecosystem and supply chain to support the central China province after severe flooding.

E-commerce marketplace Taobao announced nine measures on Wednesday to help merchants in Henan stave off flood-related losses. Taobao quickly adjusted all shipping requirements for orders to and from Henan. The company also initiated a credit-recovery program to help merchants process emergency complaints online. Financially, Taobao is working with Ant Group’s online bank MyBank to provide a slew of deferred repayment options and interest-free coupons. Additionally, it will distribute RMB30 million worth of advertising vouchers from marketing platform Alimama to merchants in disaster-stricken areas to help their recovery. The platform will also invest RMB10 million in a series of online campaigns to spotlight products from Henan.

Meanwhile, food delivery service app plans to waive platform commissions for registered restaurants, supermarkets and pharmacies for one month and roll out online subsidies for merchants in six cities hit by floods. To ensure local delivery is still possible for essential items such as medical supplies, the platform created dedicated customer and delivery services to support stores capable of opening and making sure their operations are as smooth as possible. The platform created a 24-hour hotline to ensure the safety of delivery drivers. In case of cellphone or scooter breakdowns, riders can dial the emergency number for immediate support.

Africa’s Business Heroes Competition Announces Top 50

Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program has whittled down over 12,000 applicants to 50 finalists in its annual competition, Africa’s Business Heros (ABH), which aims to spotlight and nurture entrepreneurs who build a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future in their communities on the continent. They will get the chance to win a share of US$1.5 million in grants, as well as access to networking and training opportunities. From here, the top 50 contestants will participate in a virtual boot camp to engage with business leaders and previous winners, priming them for the next round in August.

ABH also recently released its first-ever annual report, which recaps the program’s journey and the impact it has created to date. This month, CNBC Africa, Star Times and 11 national TV stations will broadcast a four-episode series on the 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes journey. For more details and to follow the latest on ABH, click here

Alibaba Unveils Cloud Pin for Media Professionals During Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Alibaba, The Olympic Partner (TOP) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is using its cloud technology to enable the coin-sized device users to digitally display their name, track daily steps, and access a collection of digital pin artworks inspired by the 33 Olympics sports.

Leveraging a wireless connectivity technology known as Near-Field Communication, pin users can interact and make friends in a contactless way. By holding two pins back-to-back at arm’s length, the pins will automatically recognize each other and help users virtually exchange social information in a fun yet safe way. Alibaba distributed the interactive pins to broadcasting and media professionals to help them engage and exchange social media information safely and interactively during the Summer Olympic Games between July 23 and August 8.

A quick look at how Alibaba’s Cloud Pin works

Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation Pledges US$220 Million For Research Into Athletes’ Abilities

What drives peak physical performance in humans? This new alliance of scientists aims to find the answer. The Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation has pledged US$220 million to fund the alliance of academics, clinicians and experts from Stanford University, Boston Children’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, the University of California San Diego, the University of Kansas, the University of Oregon, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Together they will study athletes and explore the biological principles that govern optimum performance, from the molecular level to the whole body, to ultimately improve health for all. To learn more about the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance click here.

Uzbek SMEs to Join With Government-Backed Initiative

B2B online marketplace announced plans on Monday to host a dedicated page for Uzbek small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and offer registration support for more than 100 companies to join the platform. For 12 months,’s local partners will offer training on how Uzbek SMEs can explore the opportunity to seek growth internationally online. The move is part of the agreement between the Export Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan and to help boost Uzbek SMEs’ export and online growth. Over the past three years,, has seen a robust expansion of its business with growth rates of up to 380% in markets such as the U.S., Canada, Germany, the UK, Mexico, Russia and India.

Taobao Maker Festival Showcases Creative Talent in Shanghai

Alibaba’s annual celebration of young entrepreneurs is running from July 17 to July 25 and showcasing over 100 creatives and innovators from the company’s Taobao online marketplace. The event spotlights some of the hottest new trends among young Chinese consumers, from treadmills for pets and high-tech glamping to snackable health foods. Read more.

Alibaba Launches its Largest College Campus Recruitment Drive Ever in China

Alibaba has launched its largest-ever university graduate recruitment drive across mainland China, targeting a growing number of Generation Z students seeking to launch their careers in e-commerce. Alibaba said it is advertising 113 different entry-level roles, 45 of which are open to fresh graduates for the first time. Click here to learn what significance this holds in the current business landscape, and here to check out a recent report on students’ most preferred employers in the country.

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AfricaAfrica's Business HeroesEntrepreneurshipOlympicsRest of WorldYoung Entrepreneurs
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