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Jake’s Take: Alibaba & Douyin’s Partnership for 618 2024

Published on: May 29, 2024

Picture of Jacob Cooke

Jacob Cooke

Co-founder & CEO

Ads for Tmall stores on Douyin?

In a strategic move that underscores the shifting dynamics of China’s e-commerce landscape, Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall platforms have partnered with Douyin to attract new users for this year’s 618 shopping festival.

This collaboration allows merchants on Taobao/Tmall to tap into Douyin’s massive user base and the trend of content-driven commerce. Under the agreement, merchants can post advertisements on Douyin and seamlessly track user journeys from discovery to purchase on Taobao/Tmall.

By integrating marketing efforts on Douyin with transaction capabilities on Taobao/Tmall, merchants can harness the power of “zhong cao”—or “planting grass”—which refers to working with KOLs to build desirability for your brand. Douyin boasts a vast KOL base, but the problem for merchants selling outside Douyin has been attribution. The new partnership will help merchants boost conversion rates and optimize ad spend by figuring out which KOLs are driving store traffic and conversions.

This move by Alibaba is a testament to the evolving nature of e-commerce in China, where content and commerce are increasingly intertwined, driving innovation and growth across the industry.

Another interesting aspect of this collaboration is that it demonstrates the decline of the “walled gardens” era in China’s internet ecosystem. Alibaba’s not only working with Douyin—they’re also working with Tencent, Zhihu, and Bilibili—reflecting a broader trend towards competitors facilitating integrations across their platforms.

These cross-platform integrations enable merchants to tap into diverse traffic sources, ultimately enriching the consumer experience and expanding market reach. For Alibaba, they can tap into Douyin’s KOL network—and for Douyin, Taobao/Tmall ads are a massive new revenue stream. Wins all around.

With 618 sales underway, it will be interesting to see how these strategic partnerships unfold and their impact on both consumer engagement and merchant success.

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