Subsidiary Taobao's incubator brings brands from around the world into its lucrative ecosystem, helping them with customer data and interactive livestreaming

Brands can have a hard time finding an audience in an age where everyone fights for attention on social media. China e-commerce company Alibaba Group is using its Taobao Global incubator to give small to medium brands the ability to reach a global audience. Brands that are accepted into the incubator are supported by the Taobao team, using customer data, trends and the company’s livestream video to market and sell from these brands that would otherwise have trouble connecting with Chinese shoppers.

“What we’re doing is helping small- to medium-sized American brands that don’t have a lot of resources, and can’t afford heavy investment in building a customer base in China, test the market in an inexpensive and risk-free way,” Taobao Global buyer Mark Yuan told Glossy. “The livestream is a 3D, interactive experience where the customer is engaged.”

The U.S. handbag brand Welden takes part in a livestream on Taobao Mobile. Photo: Alibaba Group

Bringing these brands in through its incubator means that Taobao has exclusive rights to selling the product in China, which is good for a company with 40% of gross merchandise volume currently spent on independent businesses. Taobao gets to pick what it thinks will perform well, and it can sell through already established social channels. The livestream adds an extra layer of confidence for buyers, who get to see the product worn live and can ask questions about it in real time, further cementing the brand’s popularity and customer’s trust in Taobao. Companies in the program currently include fashion brands The Kooples and Pinko, and beauty brands The Ordinary and MartiDerm.

Taobao Global


Lead Image: Alibaba Group

Brands can have a hard time finding an audience in an age where everyone fights for attention on social media. China e-commerce company Alibaba Group is using its Taobao Global incubator to give small to medium brands the ability to reach a global audience. Brands that are accepted into the incubator are supported by the Taobao team, using customer data, trends and the company’s livestream video to market and sell from these brands that would otherwise have trouble connecting with Chinese shoppers.