Alibaba bets big on Olympics for household recognition

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(FinancialPress) — The biggest e-commerce portal in China is making a strong investment as an Olympic sponsor for the Pyeongchang Olympic games. The imposing pavilion the company put up at the event is in line with the ones erected by giants Coca-Cola, McDonald‘s and Samsung.

With this, Alibaba (BABA) likely hopes that some of the 3 other giants‘ global recognition rubs off on it.

The Jack Ma-founded company made waves with its 2014 New York Stock Exchange IPO – the largest recorded in history. The eccentric frontman is a regular at major international events, and just last year was part of a photo op with US President Donald Trump.

However, despite its massive success in Asia, its  “brand awareness outside China is not commensurate with its size,” according to National University of Singapore marketing professor Junhong Chu. Alibaba‘s market value is larger than Walmart‘s, and the company looks to change that with the Olympic sponsorship.

The requirements of the contract are extensive – minimum commitment of 4 years, and hundreds of millions in investment. While the exact numbers are not required to be made public, a report states that BABA‘s estimated investment will border $800 milion for the duration of the deal, which ends in 2028. This puts the company shoulder-and-shoulder with name giants such as Toyota, GE and Visa.

Alibaba steps in at a critical time – as longtime main sponsor McDonald‘s announced it will end its deal with the Olympics 3 years early. Not only does the new partnership bridge that financial hole, but a spokesperson for the Asian giant also stated that it comes “at a very critical time,” and that it will use its technology to help make the Olympics “more efficient, secure and engaging,”

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Ruben is a South American writer who focuses on the state of the cryptocurrency, cannabis and tech industries worldwide.

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