This week, Alibaba Group hosted its annual Investor Day that revealed more than 350 million users are now active on the company’s local services platform.
In other news, delivery branch Cainiao Network reported a 40% bump in cross-border service revenue thanks to affordable and efficient shipping for as little as US$2.
Lower-tier cities, high-frequency shopping and international markets were the biggest talking points during Investor Day on Thursday and Friday as Alibaba expands its ecosystem to better serve markets in rural China and abroad.
Alibaba Local Services Report Strong User Growth amid Business Integration
Alibaba’s local consumer services platform saw its annual active consumers swell to around 350 million for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, a company executive told investors on Thursday.
The new business division, launched in July, brought together the company’s apps which link users with offline lifestyle businesses and on-demand delivery. These include food delivery service Ele.me, local commerce platform Koubei, navigation tool Amap and travel service Fliggy.
“Local consumer service is a huge market comprising a wide range of different services that are being digitalized, calling for a multi-app approach,” said Yu Yongfu, Alibaba’s President of Lifestyle Services Business, which includes local consumer services.
Uniting Alibaba’s four local service offerings gives merchants a range of entry points to reach the apps’ combined roughly 350 million annual active consumers. At the same time, consumers can browse shopping, dining and travel recommendations to discover convenient services.
Take a deep dive here into Alibaba’s growing local consumer services
Cainiao’s Revenue Jumps as it Delivers Parcels Worldwide for Price Of a Cup of Coffee
Cross-border services revenue at Cainiao grew 40% in the first half of this fiscal year as a surge in online shopping in a pandemic-stricken world boosted demand for international delivery services, a company executive told investors on Thursday.
“The pandemic has obviously posed huge challenges to the logistics industry, both in China and globally, but at the same time has created bigger opportunities and stronger demand,” Wan Lin, CEO of Cainiao Network, said during the two-day virtual investor conference.
Shipments around the world — inbound supply chain services, outbound parcel delivery and global SME freight — contributed more than half of the platform’s total revenue, Cainiao revealed for the first time on Thursday. China’s e-commerce exports jumped 40.1% in 2020 from a year earlier and Cainiao is riding this wave by providing affordable and efficient shipment, said Wan.
Delivery for parcels within ten days costs US$5 and is available in more than 20 countries — roughly the cost of a cup of coffee — while US$2 shipping will take 20 days and is available in over 50 countries.
Read more about growth at Cainiao here
Alibaba’s Investor Day: Key Takeaways on Taobao Deals, Taocaicai, Local Services and More
Alibaba executives are charting a course targeting lower-tier cities, high-frequency shopping and international markets, investors heard this week during the company’s Investor Day webinar.
With total retail sales surpassing RMB15 trillion (US$2.36 trillion) in 2020, less-developed areas in China — including lower-tier cities and rural areas — hold significant growth potential for Alibaba.
Alibaba’s retail marketplaces served nearly 900 million annual active consumers (AACs) in China as of Sept. 30, with diverse ever-changing needs.
“We are seeing that the more apps a user uses, the higher the user’s stickiness will be on the Taobao App,” said Jiang. These include Alibaba’s Idle Fish platform, which, with its 6 million non-Taobao professional sellers, has introduced a richer assortment of products, from Hanfu garments to second-hand instruments.
Alibaba is making strides towards its long-term goal of serving 2 billion consumers worldwide with expansion across Southeast Asia and a strong global logistics infrastructure, according to company executives.
Get the full scoop here on Investor Day
Fliggy Offers Full Refund for Covid-related Hotel Cancellation
Alibaba travel-services platform Fliggy issued a full refund policy this week for travelers who cancel their hotel booking due to Covid-19.
Travelers are eligible for a full refund for bookings over the next 21 days, under three conditions. They must either have a yellow or red health code that requires quarantine, be frontline workers like medical staff, police and community workers, or have booked a hotel in medium and high-risk areas.
By early morning Dec. 13, the full refund policy covered more than 95% of hotels on the platform. Fliggy said it is working on expanding its coverage so that consumers can get a refund from the site easier and have better travel protection.
Emma Bridgewater Tmall Sales Out of the Park
Emma Bridgewater launched on the Tmall platform in 2019 as part of an international strategic growth plan. Sales have reached 10% more than the forecasted figures for this financial year, and there has been 49% growth compared to 2020. More than 20,000 mugs have been sold in China so far.
British pottery manufacturer and Tmall seller Emma Bridgewater saw nearly 50% sales growth over the last year, the company announced this week, with more than 20,000 of their up-market mugs bought in China so far.
The earthenware brand joined Tmall in 2019 as part of its international growth strategy. In just two years, Emma Bridgewater has amassed 165,000 followers on Tmall Marketplace and 35,700 followers across other social media platforms.
Celebrities including Jackson Wang, with a 30 million-strong following, and Shuxin Yu, with nearly 16 million followers, are fans of the brand. More than 81 KOLs have also come on board with a cumulative exposure reaching over 41 million viewers.
Alibaba Offers More Paid Time-off and Flexible Work Arrangement for Employees
Alibaba announced this week that it would increase paid time-off, implement a flexible work arrangement, and offer a commuting subsidy for employees to improve employee benefits.
The Hangzhou-headquartered company said employees could have seven working days of paid family care leave annually, as well as 10 working days of paid childcare leave and 20-day paid leave for employees who have been at the company for a decade or more.
Employees can work from home one day a week and access monthly commuting subsidies up to RMB1,200($188), according to the announcement.
Alibaba rolled out its family care programs earlier, giving employees’ parents free annual health checkups and medical insurance for employees’ children. The company said employees are its best assets, and it will continue to expand its employee care and explore flexible working arrangements to fit the digital age.