The Alibaba News Roundup is a weekly digest of events and happenings across the company. This week, we look at the push for more branded Tmall Theme Stores, a festival that supports the agriculture sector and platform upgrades designed to help global brands better connect with consumers in China.
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Alibaba Group on Wednesday announced its plans to open more Tmall Theme Stores – branded New Retail locations that combine offline and online shopping experiences. Designed to cater to and connect with China’s young, digitally savvy and trend-loving consumers, each store is fitted with fun, interactive features, such as AR-enabled hairstyling mirrors at the Tmall x L’Oréal store and a digital touchscreen game at the Tmall x Bosch store, which opened its doors last week. Other brands that have opened Tmall Theme Stores include KFC, Kohler, Nestlé, Swisse and Reebok, with more collaborations expected in the coming months.
On Monday, Alibaba launched its third-annual Harvest Festival – a monthlong campaign dedicated to driving sales for agricultural products on its Taobao Marketplace. Starting this week, the platform will broadcast more than a million agriculture-themed livestreams and also kick off initiatives designed to bolster the value of agricultural brands. The event’s also part of the company’s Spring Thunder Initiative, which launched in April to provide relief and stimulate new demand for small businesses and merchants devastated by Covid-19. It’s the latest in a companywide push to help farmers and agricultural suppliers recover from the virus. During its 6.18 Mid-Year Shopping Festival, for example, Alibaba deployed livestreaming and gamified features across its platforms to boost demand for fresh fruits, vegetables and other farm goods.
As part of its eWTP partnership with Malaysia, Alibaba Group on Tuesday launched a new initiative to cultivate more than 200 aspiring e-commerce livestream presenters in the country – particularly those from low-income communities. In the first phase of the program, Alibaba will hold two-day sessions across Malaysia for participants to learn the various facets of livestreaming, from presenting to personal branding and copywriting. Shortlisted streamers will be featured during the upcoming 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, where they’d have an opportunity to work with brands and put their new skills to the test across Alibaba platforms, including Taobao, Tmall and Lazada. Learn more about the LiveNOW training program and enroll here.
In a continued push to enhance the customer experience, Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao has launched its first direct air-freight route between Singapore and China’s Hangzhou. The new route will operate four chartered flights a week and help support the rising e-commerce demand in Southeast Asia.
Alibaba’s cross-border e-commerce platform Kaola on Monday announced a strategic upgrade to help global brands better connect with China’s burgeoning middle-class consumers. The first membership-based e-commerce platform in Alibaba’s digital ecosystem, Kaola offers a Global VIP membership program that includes “people-centric” benefits, including more-personalized customer service and products tailored to VIPs. On the same day, Alibaba launched a series of new tools and experiences to its luxury platforms, including Tmall Luxury Pavilion and Luxury Soho. From luxury-specific livestreaming to 3D-enabled features, these upgrades aim to help high-end brands better connect with China’s Gen Z shoppers.