More than 80,000 bottles of Malaysian birds’ nests – an expensive delicacy made from swiftlets’ saliva – were sold in five minutes during a livestream last week as part of Alibaba Group’s annual campaign to promote all things Malaysia to Chinese consumers.
For the first time, Alibaba tapped eight popular livestreamers to host Malaysia-themed sessions throughout its second annual “Malaysia Week,” held Sept. 16-22. Bird’s nests proved popular in another session, which in only 10 minutes sold over RMB 5 million worth of them. About 30,000 packs of wafer biscuits and 20,000 durian pie biscuits were also sold in minutes.
“There is growing demand for Malaysian products in China, especially agricultural and food products,” said James Song, secretary-general of the globalization office at Alibaba Group.
“As the domestic market in China continues to grow with rising consumption, Malaysian merchants can use Malaysia Week to tap into growing demand, expose their products to more Chinese consumers and increase their export sales,” Song said.
Malaysia is an important part of Alibaba’s international outreach and growth strategy, the company has said. It was the first hub outside of China for the Electronic World Trade Platform, an Alibaba Group-led initiative that aims to lower barriers to global trade for small- and medium-sized enterprises via e-commerce. Malaysia Week, first launched July 2018, was one of the initiatives that grew out of this vision.
Alibaba organized the promotion in cooperation with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia Digital Economy Development Corp., Malaysian External Trade Development Corp., SME Corp., Malaysia Investment Development Authority, Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Inbound Tourism Association.
“Malaysia is committed to growing SME exports, and the partnership with Alibaba is a step in that direction,” said Dato’ Ng Wan Peng, chief operating officer of MDEC. “Malaysia Week’s impressive results demonstrate the growing demand for our local products, and more importantly, Malaysian businesses’ readiness to go global via e-commerce.”
This year’s campaign saw more participation from business units in its ecosystem, as well as more product offerings, than last year. Alibaba promoted about 800 products from 100 local brands through Malaysia Week – up from 50 brands last year.
To further promote Malaysian products, Alibaba’s domestic wholesale platform for industrial goods, 1688.com, launched a flagship store and promoted them on its imported-goods channel. Travel-services platform Fliggy introduced a dedicated landing page for Malaysia’s travel and tourism products. Alibaba also enlisted its sales and digital marketing platform, Juhuasuan, to help merchants reach Chinese consumers living in lower-tier markets. Juhuasuan rolled out a Malaysia-focused “Gather for You” campaign that brought regional specialty products – such as birds’ nests, durians and white coffee – straight to consumers from their sources of production. The campaign helped some items increase sales by thirtyfold that week compared to average weekly figures, Alibaba said.
The e-commerce giant’s New Retail-driven supermarket chain, Freshippo, also took part by rolling out promotions, both online and offline, such as durian-sampling activities and live cultural performances in stores. It also hosted a livestream, broadcasting from a Freshippo store in Shanghai, that was hosted by top Chinese livestreamer Viya Huang.