Ford to sell cars in China via Alibaba's Taobao

Alibaba, Ford Partner to Redefine the Driving Experience

"The tech world has many innovations to offer us, so it (the future) will be a marriage of technology companies and automakers", Bill Ford, the company's executive chairman, told China Daily at an event in Shanghai on Tuesday. Ford is reportedly pursuing the deal in order to capture sales from the emerging marketplace where vehicles are being sold online in increasing numbers. It recently promised to roll out more than 50 new vehicles in China over the next eight years including 15 powered by electricity. They'll study areas to cooperate "that are reshaping the automotive industry in China and around the world", Ford said in a prepared statement.

The Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) has signed an agreement with Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) to combine forces and jointly search for business opportunities including the cloud computing, retail, and connectivity which may include selling of Ford cars on the Alibaba's online retail podium, Tmall.

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Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba, explained that the firm is investing significant resources into the automotive sector and said it was "excited to redefine the consumer journey and user experience for automobiles" in its partnership with Ford. "Our data-driven technology and platform will expand the definition of auto ownership beyond just having a mode of transportation and into a new medium for a smart lifestyle".

Alibaba in a statement on Thursday said digital marketing-focused Alimama and operating system firm AliOS would be among subsidiaries working with Ford under the three-year agreement. Collaborating with leading technology players builds on our vision for smart vehicles in a smart world to reimagine and revolutionize consumers' mobility experiences, " said Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO.

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The source said Ford was lagging "behind in using big data" to monitor sales trends and effectively market its passenger vehicles and the move to online sales as well as the access to Tmall's huge database of information on consumers would help it to catch up.

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