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Ford and Alibaba Group to collaborate strategically in innovation

The companies will cooperate in mobility services, connectivity, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and digital marketing.

Ford Motor Company and Alibaba Group today signed a letter of intent to collaborate strategically in mobility services, connectivity, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and digital marketing.

The three-year agreement will drive Ford to work with four of Alibaba’s business units — operating-system developer AliOS, cloud-computing platform Alibaba Cloud, digital-marketing arm Alimama and business-to-consumer (B2C) shopping site Tmall, to leverage digital channels and identify new retail opportunities.

Initially, the two companies will pilot a study on digital solutions for new retail opportunities from pre-sales to test drives to leasing options, according to a statement from Ford.

“China is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic digital markets, thriving on innovation with customers’ online and offline experiences converging rapidly," said Jim Hackett, president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company. "Collaborating with leading technology players builds on our vision for smart vehicles in a smart world to reimagine and revolutionize consumers’ mobility experiences." 

The agreement will enable Ford to leverage Alibaba’s resources including new retail services, Internet of Things solutions, cloud computing and data technologies while Alibaba said it will gain from the US automaker's leadership of running complex global operations, with more than 100 years of developing, manufacturing and selling vehicles worldwide.

On Wednesday Reuters reported that Ford is expected to test selling cars to Chinese consumers through Alibaba’s online retail arm Tmall as well as via a new “auto vending machine” store concept. 



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