Alibaba has formalised its digital transformation offering with the launch of A100, a partnership program that promises to be a ‘one-stop’ shop for brands hoping to future proof around digital.
The A100 program will sit on top of what Alibaba is calling the ‘Alibaba Operating System’, the amalgamation of its technology services, such as sales, logistics, supply chain optimization, payments, and marketing.
Both A100 and the Alibaba Operating System were launched at a conference in Hangzhou today. Alibaba says its Operating System and the A100 program as the results of years developing its ‘New Retail’ premise, which has helped itself and partner retail brands create omnichannel services. The technology and lessons it has made during this process are now packaged up as a service to other businesses seeking digital transformation.
Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba Group, said: “Many partners have gained enhanced operational efficiency and business growth through a deep partnership with Alibaba. Synergies generated by our ecosystem are creating new avenues for sales and distribution, and catalysing product innovation to capture opportunities in lifestyle upgrades across China. We look forward to adding many more global and Chinese domestic companies to the A100 strategic partnership program in the near future.”
The announcement explains that the A100 name comes from Alibaba’s intention to work it many businesses across the world.
At this early stage, however, Alibaba talks about a small number of early partners that have worked with it on this level. The Chinese firm has been vocal already about its partnership with Starbucks in China, of which it’s helped build a tech-enabled experience store Shanghai Roastery and powered an on-demand delivery service.
It also names Nestle, of which it has expanded its remit from just powering its direct to consumer e-commerce site on Tmall, to Tmall Supermarket and Rural Taobao, Lingshoutong, Freshippo (previously known as Hema) supermarket, and RT-Mart. Nestle has also used Alibaba’s smart logistics business Cainiao to consolidate its distribution strategy.