Lifestyle Tech

Alibaba Kicks Off 2021 Global Challenge for Youths
to Build Direct-to-consumer Brands for the First Time

Alibaba Global Digital Talent program – enabling ground-breaking digital solutions from youths globally to address evolving market needs

Aspiring youth entrepreneurs in Malaysia who are hungry to create game-changing brands for a better world now stand a chance to bring these ideas into fruition.

Alibaba Group’s Global Digital Talent (GDT) program (Alibaba GDT program) has announced the launch of the Alibaba GDT Global Challenge 2021, an international entrepreneurial competition encouraging youths around the world to develop digital solutions that address evolving market needs.

This year’s competition will emphasise the power and potential of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted consumers to look online to fulfil shopping needs and highlighted the urgency for businesses to put digital at the forefront of their sales and marketing strategy.

For the first time, competitors will also have the chance to partner with five established manufacturers recommended by the Alibaba GDT program to co-create business solutions. The national round of the competition in Malaysia has received overwhelming support since registration opened, with sign-ups from more than 100 teams.

Winning teams from the national finals to be held in November will eventually compete with fellow youths from across 12 markets including China, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States around December.

“The future will be led by our youths of today. We have witnessed so many ground-breaking ideas from our youths in previous editions of this competition, and we are eager to discover even more this year with the help of leading manufacturers. Bringing together the digital savviness of youths and the hard-won experience of the manufacturers means we can better create novel solutions that actually address the needs and preferences of today’s digital-oriented consumers,” said James Song, Secretary General of Alibaba’s Globalization Office.

Last year’s winning innovation in Malaysia came from FOODXLESS – a team of five students from HELP University. The team created an app aimed at offering a solution for food wastage problems as approximately one third of the food produced globally is lost or goes to waste. The app helps to reduce food wastage by matching the supply and demand of food through cloud-based analytics and smart geolocation features as well as tracking and reporting food wastage through the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard (FLW) statistics.

Other features of the competition, among others, include exclusive access to training sessions by Alibaba GDT program-certified trainers around building viable brand strategies specific to DTC. These include insights on brand positioning, customer engagement, conducting market research and digital marketing strategies.

Teams will be judged on their proposal’s depth of consumer insights, innovativeness and social impact, as well as on their overall execution and presentation skills. Global finalists who work with a manufacturer recommended by the competition will receive a marketing budget from the partner. The winner, first runner-up and second runner-up of the global competition will each receive a cash prize of USD20,000, USD10,000 and USD5,000, respectively.

The Alibaba GDT program (then “Alibaba GET program”) was established in 2016 with a mission of promoting digital transformation and inclusive development through digital talent incubation. Through its global training network, the program has to date benefitted 80 education partners and trained more than 1,000 lecturers and over 20,000 students and other participants from Colombia, Mexico, Mongolia, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Rwanda, Singapore and China.

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