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Wed, Sep 16, 2020 – 2:28 PM
[HONG KONG] Alibaba Group Holding helped modernise brick-and-mortar retail with consumer data and online services. Now it hopes to do the same for China’s multitrillion-dollar manufacturing arena.
China’s largest corporation unveiled Wednesday a factory it’s been operating under wraps for the past three years on the outskirts of its hometown of Hangzhou, churning out apparel for clothing merchants on its Taobao and Tmall marketplaces. Dubbed Xunxi, the so-called smart or connected factory is designed to showcase Alibaba’s newest line of business, offering data analytics and back-end technology to manufacturers so they can customise and fine-tune factories in response to consumer demand.
“This allows traditional manufacturers to improve profitability and reduce inventory levels while still being able to meet these personalisation needs,” said Alain Wu, chief executive officer of Alibaba-subsidiary Xunxi Digital Technology. Xunxi’s factory floor is equipped with cutting and sewing machines and conveyor belts that can be tracked remotely via smartphone, according to the company.
Alibaba is betting that its years of observing consumer behaviour will be useful to the country’s producers, at a time Beijing is championing what it calls its “Industrial Internet” of smart factories. Xunxi – which means fast rhino – is …
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