Alibaba and Ford have teamed up to explore ways that connected tech can be used to transform customer experiences in the automotive industry.
With the aim of catapulting its automotive sales in the Chinese market, automotive giant Ford will work with four of ecommerce giant Alibaba’s business units.
These include the divisions that run its operating system AliOS, its cloud-computing platform Alibaba Cloud, its digital marketing arm Alimama and B2C shopping site Tmall.
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Ford and Alibaba want to identify and develop opportunities in a range of areas, including artificial intelligence, infotainment and the IoT
Although this partnership is only in the initial stages, both firms are already looking to conduct a pilot study that will help them develop retail opportunities in the automotive industry.
It’ll cover various stages of the automotive ownership cycle, including pre-sales, test drives and financial leasing options, according to Alibaba.
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Leading the sector
The Chinese firm has already made an attempt to lead the industry in China, where more than 400,000 connected cars are already using AliOS. It also launched an internet car with China-based automaker SAIC Motor in 2016.
Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba, explained that the firm is investing significant resources into the automotive sector and said it was “excited to redefine the consumer journey and user experience for automobiles” in its partnership with Ford.
“Our data-driven technology and platform will expand the definition of car ownership beyond just having a mode of transportation and into a new medium for a smart lifestyle,” he added.
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Looking to the future
Jim Hackett, president and CEO of Ford, said that China is “one of the world’s largest and most dynamic digital markets, thriving on innovation, with customers’ online and offline experiences converging rapidly.”
In a statement, he said the companies share a vision “for smart vehicles in a smart world to reimagine and revolutionize consumers’ mobility experiences.”
China is not only the largest car market in the world, executive chairman Bill Ford pointed out, but is also “at the heart of electric-vehicle and SUV growth and the mobility movement.” The company now hopes to expand its presence in the world’s most populace country.
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