Alibaba Looks to Cash In with Ali Chinese New Year Shopping Festival

Move over, Singles Day: Alibaba has found another reason to hold a shopping festival.

The Ali Chinese New Year Shopping Festival (阿里年货节) – first announced by Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang on November 11, 2015 – will have a different look and feel to Alibaba’s hugely popular 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. Encouraging two-way trade between urban and rural areas, it looks to reach not only urban consumers but also China’s rural community. The Festival will be jointly presented by Rural Taobao (农村淘宝), an arm of Alibaba Group which focuses on rural e-commerce, as well as Taobao Marketplace, and Juhuasuan.

The Festival aims to capture the spirit of Chinese New Year – warmth, reunion and kinship – among households across China, while also supporting communities throughout the country. Agricultural products from rural China will be showcased and made available to urban consumers via Rural Taobao, encouraging Chinese consumers to buy domestically produced fresh foods and other agricultural products. At the same time, there will be an extensive range of Chinese New Year goods from home and abroad available to Chinese in rural areas, thereby helping to enrich their festival experience.

The “warm-up” sales in connection to the Ali Chinese New Year Shopping Festival are set to start January 14. The actual shopping festival will begin January 17 and will last for five days.

As part of its contribution to the shopping festival, Alibaba Rural Taobao will:

  • Organize free Chinese opera performances for rural communities;
  • Sponsor 13,000 Rural Taobao partners – rural service center managers – to organize 10,000 New Year’s Eve dinners for the elderly, left-behind children and disabled in each village with cuisine from all over the world;
  • Arrange for more than 500 premium overseas brands to be available via Rural Taobao for the first time in such a large scale to bring global products to China’s farmers;
  • Supply high-quality foods from 25 countries across five continents directly to consumers in China. The foods include milk, seafood and fruits, such as American crawfish, Alaska black cod, Russian king crab, Canadian lobster, Australian beefsteak, Chateau Lafitte from French vineyards and British tea, to name just a few;
  • Search for the most authentic local Chinese specialties with the help of its partners and make them available to urban consumers around China – all with guaranteed quality and government endorsement.

In addition, for those young people and migrant workers unable to return home for the Lunar New Year, Rural Taobao has launched an app to enable them to purchase gifts for their parents and loved ones at home.

Besides Rural Taobao, other Alibaba business units will be contributing:

  • Tmall Global has just opened an offline cross-border O2O experience center in Yujiapu, Tianjin in partnership with the Tianjin Free-Trade Zone to enable consumers in Northern China who are new to cross-border online shopping to check out and purchase branded products curated from around the world in person. Special discounts will be available to consumers who experience O2O shopping at the center during the Ali Chinese New Year Shopping Festival;
  • Tmall Global will also work with eight country pavilions and eight of the world’s major supermarkets, department stores and duty-free shops – including Macy’s, Sears, Target, Costco, Sainsbury, Metro and King Power – to provide premium goods from their respective countries;
  • Taobao Marketplace will launch a channel called “Time-honored Brands” to bring together homegrown brands that are widely recognized in China for having their products/services passed down through generations. Mobile Taobao will launch related location-based services accordingly to help users find nearby stores with these brands;
  • In China, there are many New Year traditions that represent the warm spirit of the festival. Taobao Marketplace will send artisans to share such culture with households across China, such as writing Spring Festival couplets and sugar blowing, an art in which sugar is blown into shapes such as animals or flowers;
  • Alitrip will design several tour routes along which tourists can enjoy a range of folk customs, such as setting afloat lotus-shaped lanterns on rivers in the city of Lijiang in Yunnan province;
  • For foodies looking for well-known local specialties, online group buying marketplace Juhuasuan has already stored 150 tons of Jinhua ham, 100 tons of beef from Inner Mongolia, four million organic eggs, 10 million packs of Cantonese sausages, 50,000 kilograms of black pig pork, originating from the Dabie Mountains, and 30,000 grain-fed hens from Shuanglian in Hubei province.