Jack Ma visited Thomas Bach in Lausanne ©IOC

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach welcomed Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma for discussions in Lausanne.

The meeting in the Swiss Olympic capital marked the two year anniversary of the Chinese e-commerce giant becoming a member of the IOC's flagship The Olympic Partner (TOP) sponsorship programme.

According to both parties, that deal has been helping to "transform the Olympic Games for the digital era".

"Alibaba is very honoured to join with you to move the Olympics to the next stage," said Ma.

"We have moved things very fast, and we have started testing a lot of ideas. 

"My view is that we have to bring the Olympic Games anywhere, anytime, to anybody, and we have to connect the fans to each other and let them get involved.

"We believe in the future. 

"We believe that if we work together, if we create value for the others, if we can use technology to enable others to have more jobs, then things will be better. 

"Alibaba believes in double H - happiness and health. 

"It is the future. 

Alibaba signed a deal with the IOC in January 2017 ©IOC
Alibaba signed a deal with the IOC in January 2017 ©IOC

"No matter how rich you are, how poor you are, no matter who you are, you always want to be happier and healthier. 

"That is the spirit behind the Olympic Games."

Alibaba's TOP membership runs through until 2028 with the company the official cloud services and e-commerce platform services partner of the IOC.

An Alibaba showcase at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics demonstrated the country's technology while the first-ever Olympic store on Tmall - one of the world's largest e-commerce marketplaces - was launched by the two organisations last month.

Last year Olympic Broadcasting Services Cloud was launched, while The Alibaba Group is a founding partner of the Olympic Channel.

"Jack is always giving me good advice and leading me in the right direction when it comes to the great potential this digital world is offering for us," said Bach. 

"For us it's not a challenge, it's a huge, huge opportunity how we can even reach further with our message, how we can get access to our fans and also to our not yet fans in a more direct way and in this Alibaba and Jack are key. 

"Welcome to the IOC, welcome to your home, welcome to your family."