Alibaba News Roundup: Online Healthcare Spending in China Surges; 6.18 Updates from Around Asia and the First Educational Tmall Genie

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Alibaba News Roundup: Online Healthcare Spending in China Surges; 6.18 Updates from Around Asia and the First Educational Tmall Genie

Check out the latest trends in healthcare spending, including purchases of sleep aids, hair-loss products and vaccine bookings; shoppers in Singapore and Malaysia logging on to the 6.18 Mid-Year Shopping Festival enjoyed upgraded delivery services. We also highlight popular Chinese virtual assistant Tmall Genie’s roll-out of voice-command and speech-recognition features in its new model for students in China.

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Alibaba Health Publishes 2021 Healthcare E-Commerce Trend Report

Online sales of health products grew by 50% year-over-year in the year ending May 2021 on Tmall’s Pharmaceutical Platform, according to Alibaba’s healthcare unit Alibaba Health’s “2021 Tmall Healthcare Trend Report” released this week. Vaccine bookings, health screenings and online drug purchases saw triple-digit growth – China’s online shoppers booked 550% more HPV vaccinations this year, while demand for health checkups skyrocketed by 2700%. Products addressing hair loss, weight loss and a lack of sleep continue to be popular categories. Sales of sleep aids, including supplements, sleep patches and electronic devices, jumped by 220%. Alibaba Health also pointed to a 56% rise in healthy foods that are conveniently packaged to eat on the go – such as sesame balls, bird’s nests and goji-berry beverages. The report described their growing popularity as part of the market’s “fragmented healthcare” trend, meaning that more and more Chinese consumers are looking for products or treatments to manage their health in their spare time.

Cainiao Upgrades Logistics Services in APAC and Europe in Time for 6.18

Cainiao Network, Alibaba Group’s logistics arm, has rolled out a series of measures to enhance customer services in Singapore and Malaysia in the run-up to China’s 6.18 Mid-Year Shopping Festival. The upgraded services include customer support on WhatsApp, which allows real-time communication to address customers’ needs, and expansion of the parcel size and weight limits for air freight up to 30 kilograms or 1 meter long, 1.6 meters wide for deliveries to the two countries. Also, sea and air freight frequency will be almost doubled to seven times weekly, respectively, from the previous three to four per week. For lost or damaged packages during delivery, Cainiao will provide compensation of up to RMB2,000 (US$311) based on the product value. The changes will remain as regular services even after the shopping event ends, Cainiao said.

Meanwhile, Cainiao installed a batch of self-service smart lockers in Plaza Albufera, one of the busiest shopping centers located in Madrid, Spain. By scanning the QR code on lockers, customers can pick up their cross-border purchases from Alibaba’s global e-commerce marketplace AliExpress within 10 working days. According to the company, the logistics arm aims to deploy 2,000 self-pickup lockers in Spain and France by March 2022 to better serve its regional shoppers. Additionally, Cainiao will establish more than 30,000 self-pickup locations and lockers outside of China by the end of this year.

Tmall Genie E1.jpg
Tmall Genie E1

Tmall Genie Unveils New Family-Friendly ‘E1’ Smart Speaker with a Built-in Monitor  

China’s popular virtual assistant Tmall Genie launched a model on Wednesday targeting the education market. Tmall Genie taps into the company’s speech recognition voice-command technologies to help users with everyday tasks from setting an alarm to placing purchases online.The “Tmall Genie E1” is the brand’s first educational speaker designed for children. It features a 10-inch touchscreen. Users can access a range of e-books and learning apps, as well as built-in functions to manage their studying environment. For example, Tmall Genie E1 will send out a notification to remind students of their homework assignments, or detect users’ poor posture when they lean too close to the screen. It will also turn on blue light filters to reduce users’ eye strain. The E1 launch comes as Tmall Genie ramps up new services and products targeting Chinese families, ranging from education, cleaning, cooking to health and wellness. During Alibaba’s 6.18 shopping festival, Tmall Genie, and partners in its internet-of-things ecosystem, released nearly 40 new smart educational devices for children. Per Tmall Genie, 40 million users are currently using its smart speaker products and 40% of them are family units with children younger than 12 years old. Tmall Genie is part of Alibaba’s ongoing investment in AIoT technologies, which combines artificial intelligence and the internet of things across the company’s units such as Alibaba Cloud and DAMO Academy.

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6.18 Mid-Year Shopping FestivalCainiaoHealth and WellnessLogisticsTmall Genie
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