The Alibaba News Roundup is a weekly digest of events and happenings across the company. This week’s coverage looks at the e-commerce boom brought on by the 6.18 shopping festival. We also look at Cainiao’s plans to expand its global logistics network, a webinar for brands looking to find growth amid Covid-19 and Taobao’s boost to the education sector.
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Alibaba wrapped up its strongest-ever 6.18 Mid-Year Shopping Festival. This year’s event was aimed at empowering merchants and brands seeking to regain growth momentum and reconnect with their consumers following Covid-19. Taobao Live proved to be an especially popular tool for brands, both big and small, to engage Chinese consumers, with some 15 brands each generating more than RMB100 million ($14,130,000) in sales via livestreaming alone, while the overall number of livestreamed sessions climbed 123% year-over-year. Read more about this year’s 6.18 here.
Alibaba hosted a livestreamed webinar on Thursday with global analysis and advisory firm Coresight Research to discuss key learnings gained from the e-commerce giant’s 6.18 shopping festival as well as ways for brands to find growth amid the coronavirus outbreak. U.S. brands Allbirds and Supergoop! joined the conversation and shared their experiences participating in the festival and in reaching success in the China market. Click here to read about the key takeaways.
During its annual industry summit on Tuesday, Alibaba Group’s logistics arm Cainiao announced plans to ramp up investments to expand its global logistics network and significantly slash delivery times. Part of the three-year initiative is to sharply increase its chartered flights, quadrupling its fleet from 260 to 1,260 in the next nine months, which would bring international airfreight time down to three to five days. Cainiao also plans to add 30,000 new community post stations, or Cainiao Posts, across 100 Chinese cities. In just one month since it started recruiting candidates for station managers, Cainiao said it has received more than 100 million applications.
Alibaba Group today announced the appointment of Chun Li as Group Chief Executive Officer of Lazada, the company’s flagship e-commerce service in Southeast Asia. Li, who has been with Alibaba since 2014, will take over the role from Pierre Poignant, who will become special assistant to Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang. Click here to read more about the announcement.
Taobao on Monday announced the launch of a new section on its platform dedicated to educational services and materials. Dubbed “Taobao Education,” the section aims to connect educational institutions with the more than 846 million monthly active users on the e-commerce platform and will use tools such as livestreaming and mini-programs to help educators and institutes of learning better reach and engage with students. The section currently features courses for different education levels, subjects and interests. According to Taobao, the new section will further bolster the online-education industry, which experienced a surge in demand following school closures due to the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this year, Alibaba Group’s communication and collaboration app, DingTalk, launched an Online Classroom program to facilitate remote learning. A digital learning program for primary-school students was also developed for the group’s popular smart speaker, Tmall Genie.
Alibaba celebrated Olympic Day on Tuesday by connecting more than 350 Chinese athletes with fans through a livestream organized by the Chinese Olympic Committee and Beijing 2022. While the annual June 23 event – created more than 70 years ago to promote the message of fostering a better and inclusive world through sports, culture and educational activities – usually includes offline events such as global Olympic Day Runs, this year as a result of worldwide coronavirus lockdowns, the International Olympic Committee embraced digital innovation to encourage fans to “stay healthy, stay strong and stay active” even as they stay at home. As a Worldwide Olympic Partner, Alibaba engaged with audiences across China with a three-hour live show that featured interactive games, virtual sports challenges, home workout exercises and more on multiple platforms, including Youku, DingTalk and Tmall. This digital-first Olympic Day is the latest example of Alibaba using its technologies to transform the largest sporting event in the world. Additionally, Lazada, Alibaba Group’s flagship e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia, hosted a livestream show on Laz Live Indonesia featuring three local athletes bringing in exciting content revolving around the Olympic spirit. Earlier, Alibaba Cloud and the Olympic Broadcasting Services launched the OBS Cloud solution to support content production and the broadcasting of the Games. The company has also rolled out various interactive and engaging experiences aimed at fans and athletes alike.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China conducted its first livestreamed session on Alipay on Tuesday. The session largely focused on financial and wealth-management education and attracted more than 620,000 views within its first hour. Shen Jie, advisor of ICBC Hangzhou Wealth Center said that Alipay’s livestreaming feature allows the bank to more directly engage with its customers. “ICBC will continue to actively embrace digital solutions to strengthen investment education and better serve our users,” Shen said.
Alibaba.com launched its first-ever virtual export summit in Italy this Wednesday with more than 7,000 businesses in attendance. As part of the B2B marketplace’s ongoing efforts to help companies use digital technology to increase business, the Go Export Summit connected local merchants with global opportunities, online resources and industry experts. Alibaba.com also restyled a dedicated section on its platform to feature products made in Italy and to spotlight local suppliers across the country’s key sectors, such as textiles and clothing, agriculture and food, and cosmetics and machinery. To further fuel the digital transformation of businesses, Alibaba.com rolled out its Sprout Up program on the same day, which makes it simple and easy for businesses to set up and expand their e-commerce presence on the platform. According to a recent survey by Alibaba.com, 65% of Italian businesses believe digital channels are essential for success in the post-coronavirus world.
Tmall worked with several leading food brands to launch plant-based rice dumplings for the Dragon Boat Festival. The festival, which fell on Thursday this year, is traditionally celebrated with colorful boat races and the eating of sticky-rice dumplings – or zongzi in Chinese – filled with everything from bean paste to chicken and pork belly. To cater to China’s growing segment of health- and eco-conscious consumers, Tmall this year highlighted several meat-free dumplings from the likes of Starfield, a food-tech startup that focuses on plant-based proteins, and popular snack brand Be & Cheery.