Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Taobao kicked off its fifth Taobao Maker Festival (TMF) on Thursday, the annual signature event created for young entrepreneurs to showcase their designs to the public.
Under the theme of “New Blood”, this year’s event takes a fresh approach which combines inviting audiences to navigate a virtual exhibition supported by Taobao Life, a 3D avatar-based virtual world, while holding a merchant road trip in four Chinese cities to engage with local fans.
During the 20-day road trip, which started Thursday in Hangzhou, followed by Xi’an, Chengdu and Wuhan, a caravan will be converted into mobile storefronts to allow merchants to display their products. At each stop, young creators will also hold mini-offline events that draw on each city’s unique culture and heritage.
To better support young creators and small businesses and make their products more accessible to e-commerce marketplace users, Taobao introduced a new rating system that rewards them with greater market exposure by spotlighting their creativity. The replacement of the previous TMF awards with a new rating system will provide year-long brand exposure and marketing resources to young creators.
An independent panel of judges comprised of industry experts will review and rate all the TMF merchants that have participated over the past five years. Products from the rated merchants will be included in the personalized product recommendation feature “Good Find” section on Taobao, which will significantly boost their profile and visibility to consumers.
“The new rating system promotes and celebrates originality and creativity,” said Chris Tung, Chief Marketing Officer of Alibaba. “It will enable merchants to leverage their participation in the Taobao Maker Festival into a source of year-round benefit for growing their business and customers.”