Merchant Innovation

Alibaba Plans Tech-Driven Winter Olympics 2022

Chinese eCommerce company Alibaba has big plans for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, envisioning a more technology-driven event through which all stakeholders make more money.

According to a report in Reuters, Alibaba Founder Jack Ma said Saturday (Feb. 10) that his company would launch an initiative to create a smarter and more connected athletes’ Olympic Village and Olympic Stadiums, both of which would make “more money” for everyone involved in the next Winter Games. Much of Ma’s vision takes place in the conceptualized stage, although International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said some of it “can become operational pretty soon.” In addition, Ma noted his firm will likely be on display at the next winter games.

“We want to make the Olympic Games so everyone can make more money,” he said.

His comments were in reference to host cities’ organizing committees, athletes and sponsors. At the 2018 Winter Olympics, which kicked off on Thursday (Feb. 8) and are currently in progress, Alibaba has roughly 200 to 300 workers on the ground in Pyeongchang, South Korea, examining how the Games are operated and identifying ways future host countries and sponsoring companies can save money.

In addition to discussing Alibaba’s vision for the Winter Games in 2022, the company announced a new suite of software that was created to enhance how sports events' back offices are handled.

Alibaba’s motives are not entirely altruistic, however. While the company is the leading eCommerce player in China, it is not well-known or well-utilized outside its home country. It is leveraging international partnerships — including that with the Olympics — to build name recognition and expand its offerings into new markets.

Alibaba reported revenue of $12.8 billion for its fiscal third quarter, up 56 percent from a year ago. The company boasted adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.63, though analysts were looking for revenue of $12.8 billion and earnings of $1.67.

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