The Alibaba News Roundup is a weekly digest of events, initiatives and happenings across the company. This week’s coverage looks at the Jack Ma Foundation’s coronavirus-relief efforts, Shanghai Fashion Week’s latest announcement and how pigs – yes, pigs – are winning over the hearts of viewers on livestreaming channels.
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Jack Ma Foundation Donates Masks to Japan and Accelerates Vaccine Development
The Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation donated 1 million masks to Japan to help stem the spread of coronavirus. The foundations leveraged resources from across the Alibaba ecosystem to swiftly source and deliver the supplies, which were dispatched from Zhejiang Province to Cainiao’s warehouse in Shanghai before arriving in Tokyo’s Narita Airport on Tuesday morning. Along with the donation, Alibaba founder Jack Ma wrote a personal note to Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, to express support as well as to thank his country for providing aid to China during the earlier stages of the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier in the week, the Jack Ma Foundation donated $2.15 million to the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Australia to fund the development of a vaccine for the Covid-19 virus.
Alibaba Health Launches Program for Chronic-Disease Patients
Following the rollout of its Reliable Medicine-Sourcing initiative last week, Alibaba Health on Wednesday announced the launch of a new program for patients suffering from chronic illnesses. The plan includes direct access to medication, usage guidance and other personalized services. It also offers online medical consultations free for the first year as well as personalized calls from health professionals, such as pharmacists and nutritionists. To make it easier for elderly citizens to find medication, the Taobao app recently added a new function that allows users to scan the packaging or traceability codes of medicines to open their product pages on Tmall for purchasing.
Shanghai Fashion Week Moves Online with Tmall
Shanghai Fashion Week, initially postponed due to the virus outbreak, has partnered with Tmall to move the event online into a “See Now, Buy Now” experience, running from March 24 to 30. It will be the world’s first fashion-week event to livestream its entire roster of showcases, which will feature more than 100 designers and brands displaying over 1,000 new products from their 2020 autumn-winter collections.
Freshippo Reduces Barriers to Organic Produce
Alibaba’s Freshippo supermarket chain launched a new label for cost-friendly organic produce. Freshippo has been working to grow its countrywide network of contract-farming and direct-from-field partners over the past two years and is now able to bring a regular supply of seasonal, organic fruits and vegetables to consumers at a fraction of market prices and with 30-minute delivery options. To better cater to customer needs, Freshippo has also been expanding its presence with different store formats, from takeaway breakfast stations to a tech-enhanced farmers’ market. Click here to read more about the New Retail chain’s growth.
Tmall Prepares for Queen’s Day with Subsidies and Insights
Tmall announced that it would increase consumer subsidies by RMB1 billion ($144 million) this month to drive sales for Queen’s Day, its annual shopping event to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8. This year’s Queen’s Day is set to be the biggest yet, with double the number of participating merchants and 60% more products than last year’s event. Ahead of the sale, marketing platform Alimama and Tmall’s consumer-electronics division shared insights into female shopping trends to help merchants prepare. According to the findings, demand for new kitchen devices and smart home appliances soared on Taobao and Tmall in the past year, with a 1,400% growth for sandwich makers and 900% growth for floor-mopping robots compared to the year before. Sales for gimbals and camera lighting – both essential equipment for livestreaming – also grew by 120%.
Pigs Hog the Spotlight on Taobao Live
Speaking of livestreaming, pets are becoming the hottest stars on Taobao Live. Every day, viewers are tuning in to watch their favorite furry hosts eat, nap and even go on “blind dates” online. Aside from cats and dogs, pigs have proven to be a hit with the online community. Last month, “pig livestream” was one of the most popular key phrases on Taobao Live.