Alibaba to cooperate with Ford Motor Group for new retail opportunities in China

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announced on Thursday that it has signed an agreement with Ford Motor Group.

This will be a strategic cooperation to jointly explore connectivity, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

The agreement will also involve the two companies exploring a “pilot study” for new retail opportunities.

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This should include Ford selling card to Chinese consumers though Alibaba’s online retail arm, Tmall, as well as potentially through “vending machine” style stores.

Alibaba stated in a press release: “The agreement aims to explore new ways to redefine how consumers purchase and own vehicles, as well as how to leverage digital channels to identify new retail opportunities.”

Representatives from Ford including CEO Jim Hackett and Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr will be in Hangzhou today along with Alibaba representatives to sign a letter of intent outlining the new partnership.

US-based automaker Ford is hoping to revive growth in China which has recently slowed, and is looking to Alibaba as the largest e-commerce firm in China to do so.

Alibaba has a “next retail” strategy which will involve creating a seamless offline and online buying experience and this may prove instrumental to car sales for Ford.

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