Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd will begin its campaign for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. This is first corporate advertising campaign outside of China by the Chinese e-commerce giant, and the very first that features Alibaba as a brand itself with the release of Olympic advertisements targeting underdog stories in countries such as the United States, Britain, South Korea and Japan.
International Olympic Committee signed a 12-year sponsorship deal with Alibaba and to provide cloud computing services, with plans to incorporate facial recognition technology and e-commerce platform services.
“To the greatness of small” as its motto, Alibaba will run billboard campaigns in South Korea which will host the Pyeongchang Winter Games. It will also run social media ads in the United States, Britain and Japan along with TV commercials and billboards appearing in China.
Chief Marketing Officer Chris Tung said in an interview that it was the first time the company had launched a global branding campaign for the parent company, instead of for one of its business units as it usually does.
China’s domestic online retail market, which was once dominated by Alibaba, is saturated now. Competition from the likes of Tencent and JD.com has made global expansion a logical next step for the company. This competition from other companies has pushed Alibaba to look outside of China, and into Japan, South Korea, and the U.S.
“Our advertising will help introduce our brand and what Alibaba stands for to audiences beyond China,” Tung said, adding that these are “critical strategically important markets.”
Online retail in China is dominated by Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao shopping platforms. 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. Alibaba has previously said it would bring one million small U.S. businesses to its platform to sell to Chinese customers over five years.