Oct 19, 2020

Alibaba reinforces ecommerce crown with Sun Art acquisition

Alibaba
Sun Art
Retail
Ecommerce
William Smith
2 min
Chinese tech giant Alibaba has expanded its ecommerce empire with the acquisition of fellow Chinese supermarket Sun Art Retail Group
Chinese tech giant Alibaba has expanded its ecommerce empire with the acquisition of fellow Chinese supermarket Sun Art Retail Group...

Chinese tech giant Alibaba has expanded its ecommerce empire with the acquisition of fellow Chinese supermarket Sun Art Retail Group.

Alibaba’s main businesses are its ecommerce site Alibaba.com, Taobao and Tmall, but its interests are vast, stretching from electronic payments to AI and numerous other services.

Alibaba has put $3.6bn into the deal, which will see it acquire 70.94% of Sun Art, raising its total stake to approximately 72%.

The dela builds on an earlier alliance that saw the digitalisation of stores as part of its “New Retail” vision, which involves digitalised customer experiences and a focus on omnichannel approaches, a key element of modern retail environments.

In a press release, Daniel Zhang, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group, said: “Alibaba’s strategic investment in Sun Art in 2017 was an important step in our New Retail strategy. The alliance we formed with Auchan Retail and Ruentex was instrumental in building a robust infrastructure to create opportunities and value in China’s retail sector. Led by Chief Executive Officer Peter Huang, Sun Art has achieved impressive results in its digitalization, and pursued promising synergies with businesses across the Alibaba digital economy. As the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the digitalisation of consumer lifestyles and enterprise operations, this commitment to Sun Art serves to strengthen our New Retail vision and serve more consumers with a fully integrated experience.”

Zhang succeeded the company’s former leader Jack Ma, and has kept a lower profile than his predecessor. Ma is well known as one of China’s richest people, and bowed out of the company last year with an interesting performance at the company’s 20th birthday event.

Alibaba is fast approaching its Singles Day sale, the most lucrative of its kind on the planet. Last year, the gross merchandise volume came to $38.4bn, dwarfing that made by western competitors such as Amazon with its Prime Day sale. 

Share article

Jun 18, 2021

Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR

Microsoft
NASCAR
3 min
Racing fans can expect the ultimate virtual experience as a result of the partnership with Microsoft and NASCAR

Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).

These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack. 

“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”

“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”

“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR

  • Empower employees productivity and collaboration
  • Improve fan engagement and experience
  • Improve environment security and IT productivity
  • Improve racing operations

 

Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.

“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”

“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives. 

“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.

Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”

Share article