Alibaba recently chose seven Chinese high-value customers from its “Alibaba Passport” (APASS) Club to participate in a luxury tour to visit Australia amid the ongoing “Australia-China Year of Tourism.” The trip, which will be documented and partially live-streamed on social media platforms such as Weibo and Youku, is offering Australian luxury brands an opportunity to connect with affluent Chinese consumers and promote high-quality Aussie products and lifestyle to China.
As Alibaba’s invite-only membership program for Chinese luxury consumers, APASS Club has been in operation for almost three years and has attracted more than 100,000 members. These members have gradually evolved to become an important marketing resource for Alibaba. To retain their loyalty, Alibaba has continuously provided APASS members with benefits such as special deals, gifts, trips, and other customized services, and encourages them to share their exclusive experience with their online communities. For the Australia trip, the seven Chinese participants were chosen because they spend more than US$35,000 across Alibaba’s platforms annually. Meanwhile, Alibaba has leveraged the massive purchasing power of its APASS members to explore business opportunities with luxury brands.
The luxury trip to Australia is not the first event of this kind that Alibaba has offered to its APASS members. In September 2016, the e-commerce giant selected 10 people to attend a nine-day trip to Italy, with all expenses being covered by the company. During the trip, which was also live streamed on China’s social media sites, they visited a Maserati factory, a La Perla store, and did a vineyard tour at Mezzacorona. Online, the “vineyard tour was viewed 400,000 times and boosted sales,” Bloomberg reported. Similarly, Alibaba organized another trip in December for seven APASS members to visit luxury brands, including Guerlain, Louis Vuitton, Clarins, and several others in France, according to Chinese media reports.
The ongoing trip to Australia has also received support from premium Australian brands, such as Sanitriusm, winemaker Brown Brothers, and Macka’s Beef, among others. According to Weibo posts shared by some of the attendees, they visited Macka’s farm to try authentic Angus beef and spent a day at the vineyard of Brown Brothers to taste wine and learning winemaking skills.
Aside from offering exclusive value to APASS members, the trip aims to help Australian brands break into the mainstream Chinese market. This time, Chinese online KOLs Anthony and Adam & Eve, who both have nearly 3 million followers on Weibo, joined the trip to further promote the event and attract attention from a broad online audience.
The tour also intends to introduce Chinese wealthy consumers to the dynamic fashion industry in Melbourne. As a part of the journey, Chinese supermodel and fashion designer Mary Ma was invited to attend the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. Ma’s attendance during the event was live streamed online in hopes that it will help build brand awareness among Chinese fashion-goers.
Maggie Zhou, the managing director of Alibaba Australia and New Zealand, summed up the goal of the trip in a press release. “This tour is an opportunity to showcase Australia’s world-class lifestyle, our strongest asset in China,” she said. “Chinese shoppers are very interested in what celebrities and influencers are buying, what they are doing, what they are eating, and what they wear. People also want to try new brands, and have someone they know recommend it to them. This is part of a broader desire for lifestyle changes in China, which Australia can be at the heart of.”
The Australian luxury trip further points out the important role that the country is playing in Alibaba’s global expansion. As Chinese consumers continue to show enthusiasm towards Australia’s high-end products and laid-back lifestyle, Alibaba has placed a great emphasis on this region. The trip comes right after Alibaba opened its first office in the country in February.