Merchant Innovation

Alibaba Creates Sports Company — With eCommerce Twist

As Alibaba works to find new mediums and industries to break into — as part of its efforts to boost sales — the eCommerce giant has found itself in a new arena: sports.

Alibaba announced this week that it has created Alibaba Sports Group, a new company formed in collaboration with Sina Corporation and Yunfeng Capital in an effort to innovate China's sports industry using Internet-enabled technologies. Alibaba Group will be the majority owner of the new company and Alibaba's CEO Daniel Zhang will serve as chairman of the sports group.

"Sports has the enduring ability to create shared happiness and encourage healthy lifestyles,” Zhang said. “Alibaba Sports Group aims to transform the China sports industry through the use of Internet-based technologies to bring greater and better products and services to consumers, sports participants and sports fans alike."

The goal of the company is to tap into Alibaba's eCommerce capabilities to coordinate with China's media and sports industries to develop the Internet-based, consumer-centric sports platform that gives added value to those engaging and participating in the sports teams and brands associated with those brands.

The platform will encompass eCommerce, media, marketing, video, home entertainment, cloud computing, along with other Internet-enabled technologies that will reach into the arena of professional sports and the management activities attached to them. This includes sports copyrights, sports media, events, ticketing, and more.

According to Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Alibaba is focused on driving its investments toward areas that promote health and happiness, which he believes sports create the perfect match for those initiatives.

Most recently, Alibaba partnered with Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant to create and distribute a series of Kobe-branded products in China and to release his documentary, “Kobe Bryant’s Muse.” Alibaba has also worked to bring team brands and products on its platforms in order to offer them to its annual active buyer base of 367 million.

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