Retail properties

Alibaba seeking to reshape retail industry through big data, cloud computing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 5:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 10:58pm

Alibaba Group has set up a new committee led by its chief executive to better execute its “new retail” strategy--a concept driven by the integration of online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain--one of the five new trends the Chinese e-commerce conglomerate foresees will significantly reshape the world.

New York-listed Alibaba announced on Tuesday that the committee led by the group’s chief executive officer Daniel Zhang Yong will integrate “all the power” within its ecosystem, including its internet finance arm Ant Financial and logistic unit Cainiao, to gather momentum in the new era that will see the emergence of five trends to further transform the landscape of retail, finance and manufacturing.

“The internet has entered the most critical 30 years in terms of application... Many industries will be redefined in the new era powered by cloud computing, big data and the internet of things,” Jack Ma Yun, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba, said in an internal memo on Tuesday, explaining the reasons for the committee.

Alibaba urges brands to ‘digitise’ their entire business as part of new retail push

Alibaba, which owns the Post, is seeking to prepare for the so-called smart era in which the arrival of five trends—“new retail”, “new production”, “new finance”, “new technology” and “new resources”—are expected to bring challenges to industries, enterprises and individuals.

“Only those who embrace the trend can turn challenges into opportunities,” Ma said in the memo.

Ma said in October 2016, when he laid out the concept of his five new trends, that “pure e-commerce” will soon vanish.

In its 2017 Global Netrepreneur Conference held on Tuesday in Hangzhou, Alibaba’s Zhang said it would be wise to use data and the online footprint of consumers to reshape manufacturing. He noted the trend was moving from “selling at internet”, “marketing via internet” to “made in internet”.

Zhang said the online sales data and even consumers’ footprints in the digital world can allow entrepreneurs to not only “better meet demand” but also “create new demand”.

“The five new trends bring new opportunities to online entrepreneurs as long as they can master the skill of using the internet to meet increasing demand for high-quality products from China’s 300 million middle class,” he said.

With nearly 500 million people shopping on Alibaba’s online platforms, the company has begun using the large pool of data to better match products with potential buyers. However, no further details were released on Tuesday regarding the company’s plan for a consumer-driven production model.

“Alibaba is like a shopping mall. It has been doing and will keep doing whatever it can to help merchants boost sales,” said Shi Jialong, analyst with Nomura Research.

He wrote in a recent research note that Alibaba still has room to grow its marketing service and the growth of its cloud business would likely remain robust.