Chinese festival champions young entrepreneurs

The Taobao Maker Festival (TMF) combines virtual exhibitions with a merchant road show to engage with communities in Hangzhou, Xi’an, Chengdu and Wuhan.

To coincide with the fifth anniversary of this event, social media platform, Taobao, has launched a new rating system that rewards small businesses with greater market exposure by spotlighting their creativity and their products to more than 840 million China retail marketplace users.

Taobao has upgraded the TMF awards into a rating system that will provide year-long brand exposure and marketing resources to China’s most talented and entrepreneurial minds.

An independent panel of judges comprised of industry experts will review and rate all the TMF merchants that have participated over the past five years. The four-tiered rating system will reward digital badges to approximately 200 merchants. Products from the rated merchants will be included in the personalised product recommendation feature 'Good Find' section on Taobao, which will significantly boost their profile and visibility to consumers.

“The new rating system promotes and celebrates originality and creativity,” said Alibaba Group Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Tung.

“It will enable merchants to leverage their participation in the Taobao Maker Festival into a source of year-round benefit for growing their business and customers.

“This is an initiative driven by our longstanding goal of helping small businesses and young makers to achieve their dreams and find success,” he said.

The new rating system is the latest showcase of Taobao’s pioneering content-driven commerce strategy that was launched in 2016. The strategy helped Taobao to transform from a transactional-driven e-commerce marketplace into a multi-dimensional social commerce platform that allows users to enjoy a wide range of content to drive sales efficiency.

Taobao has reported a spike in the number of creative merchants – 200 per cent growth from 2018 – counting more than 200,000.

Taobao will launch its online exhibition – supported by Taobao Life, a 3D avatar-based virtual world – on 10 August and will run for four days. Taobao users can visit an online pavilion using their own unique avatar, interacting with the virtual figures of celebrities.

Meanwhile, the road show component of TMF is expected to travel for 20 days (it started its journey at Hangzhou on 30 July). A large truck is converted into mobile storefronts to allow dozens of merchants to display their products in each city. At each stop, Taobao and selected makers will also hold mini offline events that draw on each city’s unique culture and heritage.

In other news, Alibaba explores opportunities amid Covid-19 challenges.

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