Date
26 September 2018
Alibaba is using an international campaign focused on the Olympics to help introduce the brand to markets such as the United States and Britain. Photo: Reuters
Alibaba is using an international campaign focused on the Olympics to help introduce the brand to markets such as the United States and Britain. Photo: Reuters

Alibaba kicks off sponsor deal in Pyeongchang

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has promised to create “smarter” and more connected athletes’ village and stadia at the Olympics as a cloud and e-commerce partner of the games, Reuters reports, citing the company’s executives.

Many of Alibaba’s plans are still concepts since it has not had enough time to implement its technology after signing a deal last year worth hundreds of millions of dollars with the International Olympic Committee, the news agency said.

But IOC president Thomas Bach said some of Alibaba’s plans “can become operational pretty soon” while Alibaba founder Jack Ma said they are expected to be realized at the next Winter Games in Beijing in 2022.

“We want to make the Olympic Games so everyone can make more money,” Ma said, adding that “everyone” meant groups such as host cities’ organizing committees, athletes and sponsors.

Alibaba is one of the few top Olympics sponsors signed with the IOC until 2028.

It has said it wants to upgrade the technology that keeps the Games running.

It also unveiled its “sports brain” on Saturday, a suite of software products designed to improve the back office of how sports events are run.

Ma, who appeared onstage with Bach, said he was moved by North Korea and South Korea marching together in the opening ceremony on Friday since it reflected “peace and prosperity”.

Former NBA player Yao Ming was in the audience at the media conference, which featured an interpretive dancer and a magician pulling a bird out of a hat.

Alibaba has about 200 to 300 employees on the ground in Pyeongchang to study how the games run and help find ways to save future host countries money.

Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao shopping platforms dominate online retail in China. But it is not well known in many parts of the world, including in the United States where Amazon.com Inc. is the e-commerce leader.

It is using an international promotional campaign focused on the Olympics to help introduce the brand to markets such as the United States and Britain, the report said.

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RC/CG

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