Ford and Alibaba team up in search for new horizons

(FinancialPress) —Cloud computing, retail and connectivity are some of the areas that Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA) and Ford Motor Co (F) will look to explore cooperatively with a recently-inked agreement between the companies. The deal could also branch out towards the sale of Ford cars on Alibaba‘s online retail platform Tmall.

In a statement, the Asian company said that its operating system firm AliOS and its digital marketing branch Alimama would be a couple of the units that will become involved in the three-year deal with Ford.

The aforementioned sale of Ford cars via Tmall was also broached by an Alibaba spokeswoman. The move is in line with Ford‘s general overhauling of its China strategy in favor of stimulating business growth.

In the same statement mentioned earlier, Alibaba said “The agreement aims to explore new ways to redefine how consumers purchase and own vehicles, as well as how to leverage digital channels to identify new retail opportunities.“

They added that the U.S. automaker and the online retailer itself will begin operations with a “pilot study“ aimed to identify new retail opportunities.

Ford CEO and President Jim Hackett said that steering towards technology firms as collaborators is a way to bolster the carmaker‘s vision to make “smart vehicles“.

China has been a rough market for Ford lately, as it has had a hard time keeping up with the ever changing trends of the region in recent months – such as the increasing demand for entry-level vehicles in smaller cities.

Alibaba, however, has been strengthening its position in the automobile market with a partnership with SAIC Motor Corp Ltd that aims to develop Internet-connected cars through its Banma Technologies unit.

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