This week, Alibaba Group’s Tmall Supermarket announced an express delivery service for smaller Chinese cities where many Chinese people are expected to spend their Golden Week holiday.
On-demand delivery platform Ele.me introduced a program recognizing restaurants that hire employees with disadvantages, while online marketplace Tmall is helping brands launch new products more effectively during 11.11.
Meanwhile, global research institute Luohan Academy invited thought leaders to discuss how digital innovations can bolster the circular economy.
In the world of technology, we look at how 200 delivery robots, dubbed Xiaomanlv, managed to deliver more than a million parcels across the country within a year after launch.
Tmall Supermarket Rolls Out Rapid Delivery Service for 132 Lower-Tier Cities
With more travelers set to visit smaller cities for China’s Golden Week holiday that starts on Oct. 1, Tmall Supermarket is rolling out an express service to fulfill deliveries in a matter of hours in 132 sparser populated cities. The company said the service aims to serve people who forget to bring essential items, such as towels and toothbrushes, with them on their travels, and help them purchase the items on the go and receive them at their hotel rooms.
Ele.me Recognizes Inclusive Restaurants Employing People with Special Needs
Ele.me has introduced an accreditation program for food-and-beverage merchants actively hiring employees with disadvantages, such as being hard-of-hearing. In collaboration with the China Disabled Persons’ Federation(CDPF), Ele.me will offer merchants marketing support and training opportunities to meet specific requirements, such as hiring disabled employees full-time, registering them for social insurance and levelling up salaries to those of able-bodied staff. To celebrate the initiative, Ele.me and the CDPF revealed that Nanjing-based restaurant chain, Mo Qi Jun, is the first to meet the accreditation standards. Mo Qi Jun, which primarily serves delivery customers, operates 10 stores across Nanjing and has 19 employees with disabilities.
Tmall Sets Target for New Products During 11.11
Tmall has set a target for products launched during the upcoming 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, pledging its support for brands’ successful product campaigns using a full suite of analytics tools. Tmall aims to help 100 newly released products achieve 100 million orders, 1,000 new items reach 10 million orders, and 8,000 products hit 1 million orders. The shopping festival has long been an opportunity for brands to test market response with new items. Every year, more than 60% of products launching in China make their debut on Tmall, according to the company.
To this end, Alibaba’s product-innovation research arm, Tmall Innovation Center, will use its insights into consumer behavior to help 3,000 brands and merchants refine their go-to-market strategies and test the water for products this 11.11. The center’s digital marketing tool, Tmall U Try, which invites consumers to try products before buying them, expects to send out 60 million product samples during the event.
Digital Innovations Offers Circular Economy Solutions for Net Zero
Luohan Academy hosted “Circular Economy Solutions for Net Zero through Digital Innovations,” last Thursday, part of the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit 2021. The panel included thought leaders from diverse backgrounds, including Peter Lacy, Chief Responsibility Officer and Head of Sustainability at Accenture, and Izabella Teixeira, co-chair of the UNEP International Resource.
Luohan Academy’s President, Long Chen, used secondhand e-commerce platform Idle Fish as an example of digitalization playing a bigger role in the circular economy. Chen also spotlighted the Alipay-powered Ant Forest app, which encourages consumers to practice green behaviors through its reward programs.
The panelists agreed on the need for increased cooperation across interconnected global value chains and an exploration of technology-enabled solutions that help to make the economy more sustainable. Click here to watch past events hosted by Luohan Academy.
Japan’s Tourism Office Brings Popular Tourist Attractions and Local Specialties to Chinese Tourists Online
The Japanese Government Tourism Office (JGTO) has partnered with travel-services platform Fliggy to transport Chinese tourists to Japan without leaving their room, Alibaba Japan said in a press release on Wednesday. The government’s tourism body will host livestreams between September and March 2022, featuring Chinese influencers and landmarks in eight prefectures, including Okinawa, Kanto and Hokkaido. The program will also serve as an opportunity to boost sales of local specialties on cross-border marketplace Tmall Global, such as Japanese porcelain, sake and instant noodles.
The first episode of the livestreaming went live on Wednesday, taking viewers on a three-hour tour to some of the most popular spots for Chinese tourists in Kyushu, including Kumamoto Castle and Ibusuki Onsen (hot springs).
The news comes after Fliggy took Chinese tourists on a virtual tour to Kyoto, Japan, in October last year, in collaboration with the West Japan Railway Company. The livestream attracted more than 100,000 users in the first minute of its broadcast, hinting at new possibilities for the travel industry that has been hit by lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Alibaba’s Driverless Robots Mark One Millionth Delivery
Alibaba’s autonomous courier robot Xiaomanlv reached a milestone this week, delivering more than a million parcels in China within a year of their launch. DAMO Academy, Alibaba’s global research arm leading the project, said 200 Xiaomanlv robots have delivered packages to more than 200,000 consumers in 52 cities across 22 Chinese provinces. Click to learn how self-driving technology is increasingly becoming part of people’s lives.
Alibaba’s AI Tool Makes Historical Paintings Blink, Smile and Speak
Alibaba has used artificial intelligence to make ancient Chinese portraits blink, smile and speak as part of a push to bring cultural classics to life with digital technology. DAMO Academy has collaborated with a public library in Hangzhou to animate about a dozen paintings from books in the library’s archives – including “The Night Revels of Han Xizai” by artist Gu Hongzhong and illustrations in “Dream of the Red Chamber” by Cao Xueqin. Click to read more on the topic and watch the historical figures react as they recite poetry.
Correction: Tmall Sets Target for New Products During 11.11 mistakenly reported that 100 brands will reach RMB100 million and 1,000 brands will reach RMB100 million in sales with their new products. This has been corrected.