Alibaba Leverages Olympics in Goal to Serve 2 Billion Customers

The last Olympiad in Rio was a high profile showpiece for Visa Checkout. Moving forward, the card-not-present world will continue to leverage the global eyeballs delivered by the quadrennial sports pageant. Alibaba, the largest e-commerce retailer in the world, last week signed a worldwide sponsorship agreement with the International Olympic Committee that will last through 2028. A partnership with the Olympics is an aggressive move by Alibaba to court an audience beyond China’s borders and perhaps become as much of a threat to U.S. retailers as Amazon.

“Alibaba is proud to empower the International Olympic Committee in a game-changing digital transformation, while moving another step closer toward our goal to serve 2 billion consumers,” Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang said. “We will leverage our experience in serving a young user base to help connect more young people to the Olympic Movement, helping to strengthen our brand through this historic partnership.”

In addition to being the IOC’s official “e-commerce platform services” sponsor, the agreement calls for Alibaba to provide the IOC cloud-computing infrastructure, big-data analytics and digital media solutions. Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, said Alibaba will help “evolve the Olympic Games for the digital era.”