Marketing Featured Global

AliExpress’ new campaign lets you become ‘woven’ into a ‘digital’ global flag in support of Tokyo Olympics

China – The Olympics has become more than just an event for sports fans – simply by being part of the current generation alone instills the excitement and eagerness to witness this massive and seasonal coming-together, that brings all nations and people of all races to celebrate the human strength and talent. 

AliExpress, Alibaba Group’s e-commerce, is taking an extra step to celebrate the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. After the event has been halted for a year, people around the globe will finally see it to fruition, with just a few days left before its opening on 23 July 2021. 

In the new campaign by AliExpress, everyone will be able to experience the camaraderie and oneness only such global event could bring, at least digitally. Called ‘ONE FLAG’, the campaign is a global one that forefronts a digital flag that absolutely anyone, from any part of the world, can be a “part of.” 

The digital ‘ONE FLAG’ is simply made of strings woven together that bear the trademark non-black colors of the Olympics – Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue. It’s a flag with no fuss until you learn what the strings are “made of.”

The global retail online marketplace has curated an exclusive website made especially for the campaign for people to join. In it, you would only need to upload a photo of yourself, where without any further ado, you’ll see yourself transform into a ‘thread,’ and now interlaced to form the digital flag. 

A screencap from the campaign’s official website

Any photo can be uploaded but AliExpress encourages that it be one showing that you are supporting or cheering for the Olympics. To make things official, and make the experience personalized for the participant, he or she will be informed of the specific count of his or her thread in the entirety of the flag, such as for example, being the 9000th thread. On the website, a certificate can be also downloaded as proof that you are one strand to the flag, something that you can share and boast about on social media. 

“At AliExpress, we’re committed to connecting people through innovative digital experiences, and we are honored to partner with the [International Olympic Committee] to create an engaging and interactive experience that brings people together,” said Christina Lu, the head of marketing at AliExpress

She adds, “In many ways, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be a completely new experience for athletes and fans due to the pandemic. With fans unable to cheer from the sidelines during these unprecedented times, our ONE FLAG initiative fosters togetherness among millions of people who will be watching the Olympic Games at home this year to show support to the Olympic Games and athletes.”

Yuto Horigome, a Japanese skateboarder who is currently ranked 2nd on the World Skateboarding Rankings, will be among the first athletes to participate in the ONE FLAG initiative to call for worldwide support for Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and athletes.

In January 2017, Alibaba Group and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced their long-term partnership that would see them collaborating until 2028. As part of the Olympic Partner (TOP) worldwide sponsorship program, Alibaba has been tapped as its official ‘Cloud Services’ and ‘E-Commerce Platform Services’ Partner. 

Prior to the current campaign, AliExpress has also launched an Olympic-themed campaign for the pre-pandemic Winter Youth Olympics which was held in Lausanne, Switzerland, the home of the IOC, in January 2020. Through the Lausanne 2020 campaign, AliExpress promoted winter sports and encouraged fan engagement, mainly connecting consumers from around the world with thousands of featured winter sports products.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021. 

SME Featured Southeast Asia

Alibaba Business School kicks off netpreneur training program in PH

Manila, Philippines – Alibaba Business School, the educational arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has announced the kickstart of its first-ever Alibaba Netpreneur Training Program in the Philippines with support from QBO Innovation Hub, a local public-private partnership platform for local startups, and regional venture capital firm Gobi Partners via their Gobi-Core Philippine Fund (‘Core Capital’).

The training program aims to equip entrepreneurs and business leaders with tangible and actionable steps they can take to advance in the digital economy, based on Alibaba’s own entrepreneurship journey. It is part of Alibaba’s wider initiative to promote inclusive development and empower entrepreneurs and businesses both large and small.

The program is designed as a combination of online and offline training modules. The online program will be conducted via a series of virtual seminars from 21 July to 1 September, providing first-hand exposure to e-commerce and digital innovations, access to business leaders across Alibaba and those in China, as well as an opportunity to connect with like-minded, leading entrepreneurs in participants’ own region, through exercises, interactive lectures, and dynamic discussions.

Applications for this program are open from now until 20 June. 

Over the six-week period, the sessions will cover Alibaba’s key learnings from its growth from a fledgling startup into a full digital ecosystem, as well as practical advice to help businesses digitally transform their own operations and confidently embrace global business opportunities. Alibaba Business School will also host optional webinars during the program focusing on industry trends and insights.

“The acceleration of the digital economy as a result of the global pandemic is creating huge opportunities that may not be immediately recognizable. We are keen to demonstrate to SMEs and entrepreneurs how they can make full use of our digital ecosystem learnings and insights to spot and win these opportunities, and to transform their businesses for long-term success in the digital economy,” said Zhang Yu, partner and vice president at Alibaba.

Participants will be graded and quizzed on a weekly basis, culminating in a final capstone assignment at the end of the program. All participants who complete the course will be invited to join the Alibaba Global Initiatives community, where they will be able to receive access to additional content and activities post-program such as webinars and newsletters. 

For Katrina Rausa Chan, executive director of QBO Innovation Hub, the new training program is fitting as the country is witnessing a digital transformation ‘awakening’, which has become even more critical to the country’s economic resilience, recovery, and advancement. 

“Small businesses, and especially innovative startups, play a key role and need our support. We’re thrilled to partner with Alibaba Business School in launching the Alibaba Netpreneur Training Program. This initiative will empower local entrepreneurial talent and build a more dynamic startup scene,” Chan stated.

Ken Ngo, managing partner at Core Capital, meanwhile commented, “Access and exposure to operational best practices is vital for Filipino entrepreneurs to be competitive in a digital future. More importantly, I believe the real value of this program lies in how it highlights the role of leadership and vision in growing companies and communities. Together with our partners, I’d like to invite all Filipino founders and business owners to take this opportunity and apply for this program now.”

The Alibaba Netpreneur Training Program is Alibaba Business School’s latest initiative to drive success in the Philippines digital economy and build talent in digital commerce and business. 

Marketing Featured Global

Alibaba’s 11:11 Global Shopping Festival reels in $74.1B

Hangzhou, China – This year’s 11:11 Global Shopping Festival by commerce giant Alibaba has reeled in USD 74.1B in gross merchandise value (GMV), marking a 26% increase in comparison to last year’s event.

The shopping festival, lasting through eleven (11) days from November 1 to 11 across Alibaba and its affiliates like AliExpress and Lazada, has seen 470 brand participations. These brands, in total, amassed USD 15.1M in GMV.

Other notable statistics include:

  • 250,000 brands in total participated in 11.11 this year, of which 31,000 are overseas brands.
  • 2,600 overseas brands participated in 11.11 for the first time.
  • AI customer chatbot handled over 2.1 billion queries during the 11-day period

The United States was the top country selling to China in terms of GMV value. Other key nations include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the UK.

“Over the past 12 years, innovation has been at the heart of 11.11 and along the way it became a global consumer festival. 11.11 is defined by our consumers, merchants and our partners across the ecosystem, and also a beneficiary of all the support from society. “We will continue to focus on developing our digital infrastructure in the service of empowering merchants of all sizes to find a path to success in the digital economy,” said Jiang Fan, President of Taobao and Tmall.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Alibaba Cloud digitizes Genting Malaysia‘s outdoor theme park with virtual queue solution

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group has announced a partnership with the gaming, hotel, and resort company Genting Malaysia Berhadto deploy the Virtual Queue (VQ) Solution at the Resorts World Genting’s upcoming outdoor theme park, Genting SkyWorlds. 

The newly developed VQ Solution will integrate Alibaba Cloud’s advanced technology with a reservation system for individual rides to provide a seamless and engaging entertainment experience from start to finish.

The VQ solution will allow visitors to plan their entire theme park experience from start to finish even before they reach the location. Visitors will be able to download the Genting SkyWorlds’ VQ Mobile App and purchase their tickets online at their convenience. Once the tickets are booked, the app will allow visitors to plan their itinerary or provide them with an alternative optimized recommended itinerary to offer them a customized experience based on their preferences.

Alibaba Cloud’s VQ Solution is a comprehensive system that leverages Artificial Intelligence (AI) and integrates five algorithm modules – Dynamic VQ Slot Prediction, Dynamic Gamification Management, Itinerary Planning, and Incentive Recommendation as well as Crowd Analysis and Prediction. These modules combine to enable more efficient crowd management and to reduce waiting time dynamically. 

By continuously evaluating the supply and demand for each attraction, the VQ Solution will allow visitors to see available VQ slots and the waiting period for each ride in real-time. It will also enable them to advance to the fast lane and skip queues. Visitors will be able to receive a recommended itinerary which offers suggestions on suitable attractions they can enjoy while waiting for their turn. Visitors who purchase their tickets offline can download the app upon their arrival or use the VQ kiosks within the theme park to enjoy a similar experience.

 Through the solution, Genting SkyWorlds will be able generate gamified incentives to help divert patrons away from overcrowded areas to non-ride attractions and facilities, such as eateries and retail malls. Incentives will be provided to visitors who continue to use the VQ Mobile App to reserve VQ slots and follow the recommended itineraries.

“At Resorts World Genting, the enjoyment of our guests has always been our utmost priority. When Genting SkyWorlds opens next year, guests will be fully immersed in a world-class theme park boasting many rides, attractions, shows, and experiences unlike anything seen before in this region. Through Resorts World Genting’s partnership with Alibaba Cloud, the VQ solution will reduce the need to wait in line and allow more opportunity for our guests to enjoy their time at SkyWorlds and beyond within the resort. We look forward to adopting this advanced VQ solution to provide a more efficient and rewarding experience, unique to Resorts World Genting,” said Greg Pearn, vice president of the theme park, Resorts World Genting.

Meanwhile, Jordy Cao, general manager of Malaysia, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, said, “We are delighted to support Resorts World Genting on their journey of digital transformation to revamp Genting SkyWorlds’ visitors’ experience with the powerful, stable, and secure solutions and products from Alibaba Cloud. We hope this partnership will bloom positive results once the theme park opens and paves the way for future innovation. As the only global cloud provider operates local data centers in Malaysia, Alibaba Cloud will continue to work closely with partners and customers on their way of digital transformation.”

Alibaba Cloud is the biggest public cloud service provider in APAC and is ranked third globally, according to research and advisory company Gartner. It operates 63 availability zones in 21 regions globally.