The Alibaba News Roundup is a weekly digest of events and happenings across the company. This week, we look at the digitally powered Xunxi factory, which was recognized as a manufacturing leader by the World Economic Forum. We also cover Jack Ma’s conversation with former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the winners of the Go Global 11.11 Pitch Fest and new solutions in cloud-computing and logistics.
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Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang attended the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse Network meeting on Thursday to discuss the future of manufacturing. During the meeting, Zhang formally introduced Xunxi, Alibaba’s digitally powered factory that helps small and medium-sized businesses realize customized and on-demand production. Zhang said Xunxi is “an end-to-end upgrading” of the manufacturing sector that’s “driven by customer needs.” Xunxi CEO Alain Wu also attended the meeting to accept the factory’s official inclusion into the WEF’s Global Lighthouse Network of leaders redefining the future of manufacturing.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma had a fireside chat through the World Knowledge Forum earlier this week with former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In their 44-minute exchange, the two old friends covered a range of topics, from the need for leadership in the global battle against poverty and disease to the importance of changing the education system and taking an active approach to philanthropy. Ma also offered tips for young entrepreneurs. “Rule number one: Always believe in the future. Rule number two: Always believe today is a great time to start your business. Rule number three: Find a good team and work together,” he said. “Also, very important – no matter how big your dream is, start from small.” It’s better to be a good, small and focused company than a big one with an unfocused vision, he said. Watch highlights from their chat below.
Nine U.S. businesses presented their brand stories and products to a panel of industry experts on Wednesday as part of Alibaba’s first Go Global 11.11 Pitch Fest. Selected from a pool of nearly 100 applicants, the nine finalists will have their launches on cross-border e-commerce platform Tmall Global fast-tracked in time for this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, the world’s largest online shopping event. Highlights and key takeaways from the event can be found here.
Alibaba Cloud kicked off its 12th annual Apsara Conference on Thursday by unveiling a spate of new digital solutions, from a palm-sized cloud computer to a fleet of driverless robot vehicles that can help with delivering parcels across China. At the two-day event, the company also showcased technologies aimed at supporting sports broadcasts, especially in a post-coronavirus environment. Click here to read more about the conference.
Alibaba Group’s logistics arm Cainiao Network on Wednesday announced an upgrade to its last-mile logistics network in Singapore. Joining forces with local partners such as Singapore Post, Best Inc., Roadbull and Park N Parcel, Cainiao aims to enhance the fulfillment experience for consumers through a broader range of last-mile services, from doorstep delivery to contactless self-pickup via smart lockers. It will roll out more than 1,600 collection points, 600 couriers and 500 lockers countrywide, as well as leverage its algorithms to assign delivery tasks to couriers based on metrics such as location, cost and service capacity. Cainiao expects the new measures to speed up deliveries to as fast as the next day upon customs clearance for Singaporean consumers. Last month, Cainiao also launched its first direct air-freight route between Singapore and China, which operates four chartered flights a week to support the rising e-commerce demand in Southeast Asia.
As China’s tourism industry slowly recovers from Covid-19, Alibaba’s travel-services app Fliggy has partnered with merchants and brands to offer consumers RMB 10billion worth of discounts, rebates and special offers on travel-related products and services on the platform. Starting this month, consumers can find deals at 100,000 hotels and bed-and-breakfasts from 100 cities across China, including suites at international hotel companies such as Ascott, Marriott International, Hilton, Shangri-La, Banyan Tree and Intercontinental. Ahead of China’s upcoming golden week holiday, Fliggy also plans to extend the program to entry fees at attractions and scenic parks, from the Forbidden City to Disneyland.
To help the property sector digitize, Alibaba Group’s e-commerce marketplace Tmall on Thursday launched a new section aimed at moving the homebuying experience online. Through the new service, real-estate companies can open virtual stores as well as engage consumers using Alibaba’s New Retail technologies, such as livestreaming and 3D shopping features. Traditionally, it may take more than six months to complete a property purchase – from touring houses and consulting realtors to signing paperwork and making payments. But through the new service, homebuyers can shop and close the deal right on their smartphones.
Alibaba.com announced two new partnerships this week to bolster user engagement and sales for two of its top categories. These include a partnership with the world’s leading cosmetics trade show organizer Cosmoprof, which will host a two-week online expo in October to showcase cosmetic companies to over 20 million buyers on Alibaba.com. The platform also signed a one-year collaboration with the Italian Federation of Farmers to support Italian producers and growers in the agriculture industry and to help them digitalize their operations and reach a wider global audience.
Alibaba Health this week formed a strategic partnership with Sinovac, one of China’s leading biopharmaceutical companies, to provide vaccination-related services. The collaboration offers users a convenient online system through which they can make vaccination appointments, arrange for post-inoculation follow-ups and access educational materials about vaccines. The Sinovac partnership is the latest collaboration between Alibaba Health and domestic and international pharmaceutical companies, and showcases the division’s position as a leading internet healthcare platform in China.