Another key investment for Alibaba is digital content, evidenced by its $382 million investment this March in Chinese entertainment production company Beijing Enlight Media, a subsequent $200 million investment in Snapchat, as well as its aforementioned marketing services push.
“We are building up our marketing platform driven by data … to give partners the ability to acquire new customers not only in our network, but across many publishers,” Zhang said. “Data should flow on all channels.”
Alibaba’s shopper data includes attributes like a person’s home address, favorite brands and products and whether or not there are children in the household.
Although the company built an extensive affiliate network to serve online advertisers, and will continue to invest in mobile data management, Zhang noted the offline opportunity for Alibaba is equally promising.
“A lot of our shoppers can fulfill an order online but receive in-store,” he said, noting partnerships with Chinese merchants. “In the future, online and offline [channels] will be highly integrated. We want to use the data we have to help other businesses upgrade their service.”