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BMW partners with China's Alibaba for digital transformation

By Li Fusheng | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-10-27 10:55

BMW showcases its X4 M model at the Shanghai auto show in 2019. [Photo by Li Fusheng/China Daily]

German premium carmaker BMW is working with China's e-commerce giant Alibaba to help drive digital transformations across businesses in the world's largest auto market.

The two will work on comprehensive cooperation in branding, marketing, end-to-end operations, services, and information technology, according to the memorandum of understanding the two signed on Monday.

Jochen Goller, president and CEO of BMW Group Region China, said Alibaba has unique advantages in terms of digital technologies, mass customer platforms and channels as well as target customer operations.

As BMW is speeding up digitalized transformation, cross-industry cooperation and exchanges are a must, said Goller.

BMW said the partnership will help it to digitize the full business process, which will enable dealers to provide an end-to-end and online-to-offline digital experience for customers.

"BMW is becoming the first auto manufacturer to leverage Alibaba Business Operating System," said Jing Jie, vice-president of Alibaba.

"This system will help accelerate the digital operations across BMW's business segments, aiming to provide end-to-end customer-centric services throughout the product lifecycle and high-quality growth by expanding, connecting and serving customers in a more efficient way."

Among other things, customers can buy BMW and MINI-branded vehicles via Alibaba's Taobao and Tmall platforms. They can also book test drives and car maintenance online, and online financial services will be available as well.

The two will also work to make the most of Alibaba's other platforms including its online payment business Alipay and China's largest navigation app AutoNavi to make it easier for customers to buy and use cars and have them serviced.

Online traffic will be directed to BMW dealers to create more business opportunities for them as well, the companies said.

The partnership with Alibaba is the latest move in BMW's digitalization. In October, it launched an app for its customers and fans in China, and unveiled its newly expanded research and development center in Munich, Germany, that will develop hardware and software for future vehicles.

In 2019, it established a digital business company, which is the carmaker's first in the global market. The company is engaged in areas including digital marketing solutions, big data analytics, customer relationship management and e-commerce.

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