Chinese tech giant Alibaba joins Coke, Visa as a major Olympic sponsor

Alibaba
Alibaba has just gone Olympic. At January’s World Economic Forum in Davos, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Alibaba Group announced the formation of a long-term partnership that will last through 2028. As part of the new collaboration, Alibaba has become the official “Cloud Services” and “E-Commerce Platform Services” partner of the Olympics, as well as a Founding Partner of the Olympic Channel. And now, we have a bit more insight into what the company’s sponsorship looks like.

This weekend, Alibaba announced a project to create an athletes’ village that is “smarter” and more connected, all while making Olympic stakeholders “more money,” according to executives. While this and other similar projects are still in concept phases, IOC president Thomas Bach noted that a number of Alibaba’s plans “can become operational pretty soon.” Unfortunately, “pretty soon” probably means the next Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022.

One of the major innovations will be the “sports brain,” a suite of software that is meant to improve how sporting events are run from behind the scenes. Alibaba claims that it “enables various stakeholders to leverage cloud technologies to deliver the future of sports events in a secure, stable, and cost-effective manner and to provide fans with a convenient and engaging experience.” In the meantime, the company promises to provide the current Olympics with the necessary computing infrastructure and cloud services to help digitize operations and become more effective and secure for fans and athletes alike.

“In this new digital world, Alibaba is uniquely positioned to help the IOC achieve a variety of key objectives outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020, while positively shaping the future of the Olympic Movement,” said Thomas Bach, President of the IOC. “This is a ground-breaking, innovative alliance, and will help drive efficiencies in the organization of the Olympic Games through 2028, whilst also supporting the global development of digital opportunities including the Olympic Channel.”

The move puts Alibaba on a global stage, alongside other major sponsors of the games like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Visa. While already a household name in China and across much of Asia, Jack Ma’s company has yet to truly break ground in the western hemisphere.

“Alibaba’s partnership with the IOC is built on a foundation of shared values and a common vision for connecting the world and enriching people’s lives,” said Ma, who founded the Alibaba Group back in 1999. “We are proud to support Olympic Agenda 2020, using our innovations and technologies to help evolve the Olympic Games for the digital era.”

The company will also create an e-commerce platform that will help sell Olympic licensed products and various sports products the world over.

“Alibaba is proud to empower the International Olympic Committee in a game-changing digital transformation, while moving another step closer toward our goal to serve 2 billion consumers,” said Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group.

Tsunekazu Takeda, the IOC’s Marketing Commission Chair, concluded, “We are delighted to be working in the long term with Alibaba for the benefit of the Olympic Movement. This strategic partnership underlines the global appeal of the Olympic values and opens an exciting new chapter in this digital age.”

Outdoors

Uber’s bikesharing service is eating into its regular business

A bikesharing service acquired by Uber nearly a year ago is causing riders to take fewer car journeys with the company. It is, however, part of the plan as Uber looks to offer an integrated mobility platform for cities.
Home Theater

ATSC 3.0: The next-gen TV update explained

ATSC 3.0 is the next major update to the broadcast standard we use today. Will this be the second coming of free, over-the-air TV? We're here to explain everything about the new standard.
Gaming

Take some time to reminisce with the 25 best Sega Genesis games of all time

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Home Theater

Everything to know about Sling TV: Channels, pricing, and more

Sling TV has grown a great deal since its launch. Now there are more channels and more packages to chose from, with prices to match, and more is being added all the time. Everything you need to know is right here.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Computing

YouTube beats Apple, Netflix as the most trusted brand by millennials

The popular video sharing website YouTube climbed up in an annual Mblm study, moving up from third place in 2018 and coming ahead of both Apple and Netflix in final 2019 rankings. 
Mobile

OnePlus breaks into the top five among U.S. smartphone companies

We've been impressed with the value offered by OnePlus phones for years, but in 2018 the Chinese manufacturer really stepped things up. After impressive sales, OnePlus broke into the top five U.S. smartphone companies in the high-end…
Smart Home

Review board says Dyson should cease unsubstantiated vacuum claims

The National Advertising Review Board recommended Dyson make three changes to claims about suction power, running time, and battery technology for its V8 cordless vacuums. Dyson agreed to the recommendations.
Mobile

AT&T adds Minneapolis and Chicago to its mobile 5G road map for 2019

Ready to experience a radical transformation in mobile communication? AT&T is launching mobile 5G in cities across the country over the next few months. Here's everything you need to know about the AT&T 5G rollout.
Mobile

Allstate’s SquareTrade buys phone repair service iCracked

Allstate may be looking to diversify its service a little. The company announced that SquareTrade, a company Allstate owns, is buying iCracked, a popular phone repair service that currently operates in more than 60 cities.
Mobile

T-Mobile says Sprint merger will boost 5G speeds by up to 6 times

2019 will be a huge year for T-Mobile. Not only is a merger with Sprint likely, but T-Mobile is also in the midst of building out its next-generation mobile service. Here's everything you need to know about the T-Mobile 5G rollout.
Mobile

Sprint’s 5G rollout: Everything you need to know about it

Sprint is building its next-gen 5G network in preparation for a 2019 rollout, but it's taking a decidedly different approach than some of its competitors, including Verizon and AT&T. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Verizon wants you to lobby the government for 5G deployment

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.
Mobile

Smartwatch sales soared in 2018, with Apple leading the charge

The NPD Group, a market research organization, has reported smartwatch sales soared in 2018. Apple is leading the charge, but it's clear there's still room in the market for competitors, as Samsung and Fitbit also did well.