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Alibaba’s AliExpress eyes European success with Euro2024 football sponsorship, after rival Temu cracked US market with Super Bowl ads

Alibaba’s AliExpress eyes European success with Euro2024 football sponsorship, after rival Temu cracked US market with Super Bowl ads
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Alibaba Group Holding’s international e-commerce platform AliExpress is betting on a European market breakthrough by sponsoring this year’s European Football Championship, or Euro 2024, a move that comes after its rival Temu cracked the US market through ads that ran in the Super Bowl.

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AliExpress is the first exclusive e-commerce platform partner for the national men’s teams of European members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the association said in a statement on its website on Wednesday. The monetary amount involved in the deal was not disclosed.

Euro 2024, which kicks off in Germany on June 14, marks Alibaba’s accelerated bid to build up its e-commerce presence in the region.

Alibaba brings 5-day delivery to the US in race against Shein, Temu

“[AliExpress] will bring fans even closer to the action, with great deals on a vast selection of popular and trending products,” said Gary Topp, European commercial director at AliExpress. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

Analysts said that sponsoring a game with a strong fan base in Europe would help its brand recognition and contribute to its growth in the market.

“It will play a significant role in elevating its brand and clout, which in turn will drive the growth of its European business, especially on the consumer front,” said Zhuang Shuai, founder and chief analyst at e-commerce consultancy Bailian.

Zhang Zhoupin, a cross-border e-commerce analyst with Hangzhou-based consultancy 100ec.cn, echoed the view, saying that the sponsorship deal will help Alibaba acquire more customers.

EU investigates AliExpress over possible ‘dissemination of illegal content’

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The UEFA Euro games are among the world’s most popular sporting events, with Euro 2020 accumulating 5.2 billion global views of the live matches, UEFA said.

Each live match in 2020 – the last time the tournament was held – was watched by an average TV and streaming audience of more than 100 million people. There were also 7.5 billion interactions and views, of which two billion were generated by official UEFA accounts, according to the sports union.

AliExpress’ European sports sponsorship mirrors a strategy adopted by rival Temu, the international shopping platform of Chinese e-commerce giant PDD Holdings, which spent millions of dollars on ads during the last two US Super Bowl games. The Temu ads touted its cheap prices, inviting consumers to “shop like a billionaire” on its platform.

AliExpress’ European sports sponsorship mirrors a strategy adopted by rival Temu. Photo: Shutterstock Images

The AliExpress move follows a live-streaming e-commerce campaign in Europe that saw the platform tap a group of UK-based influencers to host live sessions on the AliExpress app, engaging consumers and touting a curated selection of products.

“[The live-streaming campaign] is about harnessing the power of influencers to create a truly interactive and engaging shopping experience for our customers through curated collections, exclusive discounts, and a fun way to explore fashion trends,” said Bonnie Zhao, head of user product and business at AliExpress’s UK unit.

The campaign is expected to be rolled out in more countries and regions in the European and American markets, according to AliExpress.

Last week, AliExpress expanded its “five-day delivery” service to six countries including the US, Germany, France, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Mexico, through a team-up with Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics arm.

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In the December quarter, AliExpress delivered over 60 per cent year-on-year growth on its platform, driven by Choice, which offers a select collection of quality goods coupled with speedy deliveries, Alibaba said.

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