The Alibaba News Roundup is a weekly digest of events and happenings across the company. This week’s coverage looks at efforts to revitalize the economy after months of coronavirus-related disruptions. Also covered is the launch of a new cloud-based exhibition platform, the reopening of Shanghai Disney as well as the trend of picnicking in the park.
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Shanghai’s May 5th Shopping Festival kicked off with a bang on Tuesday. The two-month initiative brings together online and offline retail in a bid to revitalize the economy and boost consumer confidence as China emerges from months of coronavirus lockdowns. On Tmall, Alibaba’s B2C e-commerce platform, sales exceeded RMB100 million ($14.14 million) within the first minute of the festival’s opening. This post-pandemic economic recovery has spurred growth in sales for overseas brands as well. Per Tmall Global, sales of imported products grew by 239% year-on-year on the opening day of the festival, with beauty devices, kitchen appliances and household cleaning supplies being among the most popular import categories. Other businesses in the Alibaba ecosystem have also put on special promotional events during the festival. For example, cross-border marketplace Kaola launched its Overseas Warehouse Opening Day on May 7, bringing discounts and free direct shipping of imported goods to consumers in Shanghai.
Alibaba’s businesses have also been participating in the Shuangpin Online Shopping Festival. In particular, the company’s sales and digital marketing platform, Juhuasuan, rolled out a megasale for the occasion, offering 50% discounts on more than 50,000 products. So far, more than 106 brands have taken part in Juhuasuan’s campaign, from domestic heavyweight Suning to international brands such as Adidas and Emporio Armani.
Alibaba Group and the Council for the Promotion of International Trade in Shanghai on Thursday announced a partnership to establish a cloud exhibition platform. The joint venture allows the convention and exhibition industry to tap into Alibaba’s technology – such as livestreaming and 3D modeling – to accelerate its digitization and, in doing so, facilitate global trade across all sectors. The platform was officially inaugurated with a cloud-based car show featuring new vehicles from brands such as Ford, Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, Volkswagen and Roewe. According to Alibaba, the exhibition platform could be used for large-scale trade events of all kinds in the future.
Shanghai Disney Resort this week announced that it would reopen its park on May 11. Following the announcement, searches for the resort on Fliggy, Alibaba’s ticket-booking and travel platform, surged 1,000% in a single day. On May 8, Shanghai Disney Resort released tickets through its Fliggy flagship store and the first sale was made in only 2 seconds. The Shanghai resort is the first Disney theme park to reopen in the world following closures brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. According to a statement from Disney, it will introduce strict measures and processes to ensure the safe reopening of its Shanghai park. These include restricting visitor flow, implementing social-distancing requirements and increasing sanitation measures.
Alibaba Group has ranked second in the annual BrandZ Top 75 Most Valuable Global Retail Brands list. Released by leading communications company WPP and consulting firm Kantar, the ranking is based on retailers’ financial value as well as insights from 3.9 million consumers in more than 50 markets around the world. This year’s report also focused on the impact that Covid-19 has had on the retail sector and highlighted cases of brands that were able to come up with agile and innovative responses to the crisis, with Alibaba’s expedited medical-supplies logistics channel as well as its technologies to facilitate remote work and education mentioned as examples.
Insights from Alibaba’s on-demand delivery platform Ele.me have shown an increased popularity of outdoor picnics in China. This comes as people emerging from weeks of lockdown seek alternatives to eating at crowded restaurants in efforts to maintain some degree of social distancing. In Wuhan, the number of food orders delivered to local parks quadrupled in the first three days of May compared to the same period in April. Xiamen, Tianjin, Lanzhou and Shenzhen also saw a rise in park-dwelling picnickers ordering from the Ele.me app.
Cainiao Post, which operates pick-up stations within communities such as schools and residential areas, received over a million job applications since announcing plans to recruit managers for 30,000 new stations across 100 cities in March. On Thursday, Cainiao Post said it will continue the employment-support initiative and roll out more job opportunities to local communities, as well as offer free package-delivery services for consumers.
Preparations are well underway for Ali Day, an annual event to celebrate the resilience and spirit that Alibaba employees and their families showed during one of the most critical moments in the company’s early history, when it came face-to-face with the SARS crisis. This year’s event, which will take place on May 9, is particularly poignant as the world grapples with another, and more threatening, health pandemic. In what will become the company’s first “Cloud Ali Day,” top executives and old hands will come together to share inspirational messages and also shine a light on the untold stories of staff members who have helped to combat the crisis in their own ways. And while the company won’t be opening up its offices around the world for friends and families to visit, it will livestream its famed group wedding as a way to celebrate employees and their loved ones.