Alibaba’s Latest Web3 Project Proves A New Era Of Retail Is Officially Here

What Happened: Interactive shopping is making waves across the Chinaverse once again. On September 14, Alibaba Group revealed that its marketing technology platform Alimama has plans to launch an immersive meta space called “Metaverse” (曼塔沃斯) for this year’s Double 11 festival. Within the digital establishment, consumers will be able to browse virtual shops and engage in exclusive entertainment experiences. As of now, the project is said to have resonated with a number of brands across the country, whose names are yet to be disclosed, suggesting many are gearing up to show their cooperation and involvement with the campaign. 

The Jing Take: Virtual shopping spaces are being adopted on a large scale across China. Alibaba has continuously demonstrated that it wants in, and the group has long been a leader in tapping the country’s shopping power through smart innovation and accessible experiences. 

Tmall Luxury Pavilion offers 3D shopping and virtual reality try-ons for products and digital collectibles. Photo: Alibaba Group

For example, Alibaba’s luxury platform, Tmall Luxury Pavilion, recently announced that it will host an augmented reality fashion show and introduce a Meta Pass, which grants priority access to brands’ product, later this month. And earlier this year, the company released its Taobao Metaverse Mall in time for the annual 618 shopping festival. There, visitors could guide avatars through 3D stores and engage in a number of interactive activities, while Alibaba got to test the Web3 waters and explore new ways of responding to changing consumer demand. These initiatives set the precedent for the company and its Chinaverse expansion. 

While the mainland’s restrictions regarding Web3 remain, many companies are grasping at whatever they can in order to cultivate a digital presence while staying in line with limitations. The Hangzhou-based conglomerate is revered for its forward-thinking approach, but as more businesses — such as Tencent and Baidu — invest heavily in the digital space, the pressure to stay ahead is ever-present. Across the globe, the metaverse still awaits its mainstream retail takeover. But for China, the future of shopping is already here. 

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.


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