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New Brands Score Big in Alibaba’s Malaysia Week 2020

Alibaba Group’s third annual Malaysia Week wrapped up last Friday with first-time brands performing especially strongly among the 200-plus merchants hailing from the Southeast Asian country.

Products from skincare brand Safi, essential oil company Garden of Eden, pewter gift specialist Royal Selangor and the footwear company Fipper were in hot demand from Chinese consumers in the third annual promotion of goods and services from Malaysian businesses and retailers.

Backed by the Electronic World Trade Platform – an Alibaba-led initiative that aims to lower the barriers to global trade for small and medium-sized enterprises – the annual event has become an important avenue to connect Malaysian brands with Chinese consumers since its launch in 2018.

Malaysia Week 2020
Alibaba Group’s Malaysia Week 2020.

The latest edition, which was expanded to 10 days for the first time, took place across Alibaba’s Tmall, Taobao Live, Juhuasuan, Fliggy and Freshippo platforms, and opened with a livestreamed ceremony that drew 1.7 million views.

The rising demand for Malaysian products comes at a time when an increasing number of brands and retailers from the country are tapping Alibaba’s ecosystem to enter or grow their presence in China, both for its sheer market size and its importance as a sales channel, especially the ongoing global pandemic.

“We are thrilled to witness the number of participating merchants growing with each Malaysia Week edition, and are proud to continue working alongside the Malaysian government to help Malaysian brands achieve success via social commerce and through the eWTP,” said Eric Jing, an Alibaba Group board member and partner. “We will continue being a strong partner for SMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs as we face the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic together.”

Premium durians – already hotly sought by Chinese consumers – saw outstanding sales, with 20 black thorn durians priced at RMB588 ($87) apiece being sold up in seconds. Musang King durians and snow skin mooncakes filled with the funky fruit were also quickly snapped up.

Other popular items included PT Swift’s dried bird’s nests, which notched RMB5.5 million in sales on the first day of the event, and iced teas from first-time Malaysia Week participant F&N Seasons.

Also included among this year’s success stories was Fipper, the footwear company whose founder participated in an Alibaba entrepreneur training program last year. For this edition of Malaysia Week, the brand launched a co-branded slipper collection with Swarovski.

Fipper
Footwear brand Fipper was among this year’s Malaysia Week success stories.

The event, which saw livestreaming take center stage, brought in more than 80 million views on Alibaba’s Taobao Live platform, according to the company.

“The success of this campaign goes to show that digital platforms such as e-commerce managed to drive Malaysian businesses to scale their operations, increase sales and gain exposure internationally especially during these unprecedented times,” said Surina Shukri, CEO of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation.

Alibaba teamed up with MDEC and other Malaysian government institutions, including the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, for this year’s promotion.

Over the past three years, Alibaba’s efforts to support Malaysia – the first overseas eWTP hub – have included training for students and entrepreneurs as well as initiatives to use e-commerce and other digital tools to promote the country’s products.

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