The Alibaba News Roundup is a weekly digest of events and happenings across the company. This week’s coverage looks at a new initiative by Alibaba Group and Ant Group to empower female entrepreneurs and women in tech. Also covered is a new shipping route between Asia and Europe, Tmall’s latest plans to hasten brand growth and Alibaba.com’s virtual trade show.
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Alibaba Group and Ant Group on Wednesday announced a new initiative to uplift women in technology and entrepreneurship. Dubbed “Cyber Mulan,” the five-year plan aims to help 50 million women reach their goals through tangible support and solutions, including digital-skills training programs and interest-free loans aimed at female entrepreneurs in small and medium-sized enterprises. The initiative is part of ongoing efforts across the Alibaba digital economy to alleviate poverty and empower all sectors of society. In December 2017, the company established the RMB10 billion ($1.5 billion) Alibaba Poverty Relief Fund to channel resources into the areas of e-commerce, education, environmental sustainability, healthcare and female empowerment.
Alibaba Group’s logistics arm Cainiao Smart Logistics Network will start a new Hong Kong-Spain shipping route next month that will improve average delivery times between China and Europe by over 30%. Under their partnership, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, owned by leading air-freight carrier Volga-Dnepr Group, will operate three flights each week. All goods delivered via the new route will be shipped within three to 10 days, versus the industry average of 15 to 20 days. Additionally, Cainiao on Thursday announced that it will deepen its partnership with Latvian Post to expand delivery to more European countries and help the postal service upgrade its digital infrastructure.
Tmall on Wednesday announced plans to incubate 5,000 new and emerging brands on the platform, helping them scale to become leaders in their respective categories within two years. The online marketplace pledged to support these brands in areas spanning product development, design, content and marketing. Helping new brands grow on its platform has become a key strategy for Tmall. In March, the e-commerce destination unveiled a new marketing tool dedicated to setting emerging brands up for success, dubbed “Tmall New Superstar.” Tmall’s fast-moving consumer goods unit also said it will incubate 100 new consumer-goods brands and upstarts via four months of intensive training and cultivation in the run-up to the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, and will aim to help them achieve explosive growth during the world’s largest shopping day. Similar programs are also being rolled out across categories, including beauty, food, mom and baby, and health and wellness.
Alibaba hosted an online discussion this week to decipher how livestreaming – an increasingly important e-commerce driver in China – works and how international brands can best leverage it to stay top-of-mind for consumers in the world’s second-largest economy. The online session featured the co-founders of NYC-based livestreaming consulting company And Luxe, who did a live demo of the Taobao Live app at Ba&sh’s flagship store in Manhattan. They were later joined by representatives from Michigan-based floor-care brand Bissell and British tea house Whittard of Chelsea – brands that have found success in streaming. Click here to read key takeaways from the session and here to watch the playback.
Alibaba.com hosted its first Online Trade Show USA this month to connect U.S. small businesses to potential buyers in the nutrition and supplements industry, both locally and internationally. The inaugural show featured nearly 50 U.S. suppliers exhibiting products to over 50,000 viewers via social channels every day during the four-day event. Virtual trade shows have become important to keep business going during the pandemic, while the online format also helps create meaningful digital connections that would foster trust in a convenient way with fewer costs. With many more U.S.-focused Online Trade Shows planned, Alibaba.com hopes to help broker relationships between businesses that previously saw the majority of their inquiries through in-person trade shows. The next event is the Food & Beverage Show on August 18-21.
Every year, thousands of people attend Alibaba’s annual UCAN Design Conference in Hangzhou, featuring panels, exhibitions and product launches from the company’s designers and industry heavyweights. In light of the coronavirus outbreak this year, organizers have moved all sessions online and opened them up to the public, free of charge, until July 23. In these sessions, which kicked off on Thursday, designers shed light on their work and best practices, from exploring how people’s relationship with space impacts the design of New Retail stores to developing smart logistics facilities, digitizing textiles and fashion design, and even developing the visual identities of Alibaba’s beloved mascots.
Alibaba Cloud has ranked first in China for speech intelligence, conversational artificial intelligence and machine learning, according to a newly released 2019 report by analyst firm IDC. Alibaba Cloud’s speech-intelligence solutions were recognized for their versatility and are currently used by more than 50,000 customers in fields ranging from finance to robotics. The tech also supports Alibaba’s customer service as well as the company’s products and businesses such as its smart speaker Tmall Genie and logistics network Cainiao.