$1.52b ear­marked for hi-tech sta­di­ums

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By MENGJING andWANG ZHUOQIONG

The sports off­shoot of China’s e-com­merce giant Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd said it will in­vest 10 bil­lion yuan ($1.52 bil­lion) with part­ners to turn the coun­try’s tra­di­tional sports venues into in­ter­net-en­abled smart sta­di­ums.

AliS­ports said on Wed­nes­day that it will of­fer tai­lor­made so­lu­tions to help Chi­nese cities up­grade their sta­di­ums so that the venues can max up in their us­age and op­er­ate in a more ef­fec­tive way.

Zhang Dazhong, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Shang­haibased AliS­ports, said the com­pany will set up a foun­da­tion ded­i­cated to im­prov­ing sports in­fra­struc­ture through­out the coun­try.

“China has about 1.7 mil­lion sta­di­ums. The goal for us is to be­come a sports ser­vices provider that can de­liver turnkey so­lu­tions for each city,” he said.

Many Chi­nese sta­di­ums face chal­lenges in terms of com­mer­cial­iza­tion. Apart from the sub­si­dies of­fered by lo­cal gov­ern­ments, many turn to spon­sor­ship from com­pa­nies to main­tain their op­er­a­tions.

With the help of cloud com­put­ing and big data tech­nol­ogy, AliS­ports plans to bet­ter con­nect sta­di­ums with their lo­cal sports fans via tai­lor­made so­lu­tions.

In the near fu­ture, when peo­ple en­ter a lo­cal sta­dium, it is likely their smart­phones will au­to­mat­i­cally no­tify them of the sports events they are in­ter­ested in and pro­mote sports gear they like via an­a­lyz­ing their shop­ping records on Alibaba’s plat­forms.

By lever­ag­ing the huge data pool of Alibaba, AliS­ports can, for ex­am­ple, know which sport is the most pop­u­lar in Nan­jing, Jiangsu prov­ince.

“Chi­nese spent a to­tal of 90 bil­lion yuan in 2015 on sports-re­lated items on Taobao and Tmall (two plat­forms of Alibaba), surg­ing from less than 200 mil­lion yuan in 2012,” Zhang said, adding the data are a very valu­able as­set AliS­ports can tap into.

The com­pany will first choose 20 cities to run some pi­lot projects and later up­grade tens of thou­sands of sta­di­ums across 100 cites through in­vest­ment.

In an­other de­vel­op­ment, Alibaba Group and Sun­ing Com­merce Group Co an­nounced an al­liance with home ap­pli­ances brands on Wed­nes­day to stim­u­late their sales to a to­tal of about 400 bil­lion yuan in next three years.

Un­der the new strat­egy, home ap­pli­ances brands in­clud­ing Midea, Haier, Sam­sung, Hisense, Huawei and Xiaomi will in­crease their an­nual sales rev­enue to 50 bil­lion yuan in three years from cur­rent 10 bil­lion yuan.

Con­tact the writers at mengjing @chi­nadaily.com.cn and wangzhuo­qiong @chi­nadaily.com.cn

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