Alibaba Group, China's tech giant, said on Wednesday that it has launched a global B2B sourcing platform to connect medical-goods suppliers of all sizes with frontline medical personnel in an attempt to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in China.
The Alibaba Global Direct Sourcing Platform will allow the Alibaba Group to leverage its digital technology and expertise to transparently and efficiently put to use a 1 billion yuan fund. The fund was established on January 25, two days after the city of Wuhan – at the epicenter of the outbreak – was quarantined. The fund's purpose is to purchase vital medical supplies within and outside China to support medical personnel in Wuhan and other cities affected by the virus.
The platform will serve as an information bridge for suppliers, including large wholesalers, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. Alibaba will post the specifications of needed medical supplies, including types, models and quantities of products, based on information collected from hospitals and local authorities. Suppliers can provide information about the products they can offer. Once the supplier is verified and the goods certified as an acceptable match, Alibaba will begin the procurement process. Goods purchased through this platform will go to hospitals based on urgency and priority.
Alibaba is committed to delivering the needed supplies in a fast and safe way. It is working closely with global logistics partners to provide efficient and timely shipping solutions. Cainiao, Alibaba's logistics unit, has launched a "Green Channel" initiative with industry partners in China and overseas to ensure expedited shipping, handling and delivery.
As of February 3, Alibaba has delivered medical supplies from 15 countries and regions, including self-purchased and donated goods, to 18 hospitals in Hubei, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces.