2018 Singles' Day: Jack Ma Launching Satellites... Because He Can

By Sunny Wang, October 26, 2018

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Alibaba is taking shopping to the stratosphere.

The company is rolling out ‘Tmall International,’ a communications satellite meant to further integrate online and offline shopping interactions and logistics during Singles' Day, the commerically-inspired holiday that takes place on November 11.

According to ECNS, the satellite will carry a tiny Tmall mascot (see image below) while orbiting around the Earth every 90 minutes, broadcasting sentimental messages to consumers when the satellite passes over a shopper’s location. Users can access the cool feature on the Taobao app. 

Tmall President Jing Jie said the satellite launch will commeorate the 10-year anniversaries of the e-commerce one-day spending spree and the first Chinese astronanut to walk in space.

tmall-mascot.jpg
Image via ecns.cn

The blatant attempt to capitalize on love-starved loners may seem excessive at first. Liu Dingding, an industry analyst based in Beijing, sees no connection between the satellite launch and an improvement in customer experience, Global Times reports. “For the time being, it seems to be much of a publicity stunt,” Liu said.

But with Alibaba’s USD15 billion investment in DAMO Academy, it’s aggressive research and development initiative, this seems unlikely. According to Technode, ‘Tmall International’ will have some company in the cold, desolate space that surounds our tiny planet. Alibaba is also launching a space station called ‘Candy Tin’ in order to strengthen its communication tech base.

It is still unclear whether the e-commerce giant is set to participate in state-backed space projects, but with the imminent arrival of 5G technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT), collaboration seems likely.

China’s ambitious space program aims to break new technological frontiers in the near future, from launching a communications satellite to the far side of the moon to hanging a duplicate of the lunar orb over Chengdu. 

[Cover image via Wikimedia]

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