Online retail marketplace AliExpress has today launched a two-week campaign to promote winter sports and encourage fan engagement around the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics.
The Chinese-based company, an arm of Alibaba Group, a member of the Olympic Partner (TOP) worldwide sponsorship programme, has also set up a dedicated Lausanne 2020 site.
"As Alibaba celebrates the three-year anniversary of our partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), we continue to leverage the entire Alibaba ecosystem to help transform the Games for the digital era," said Chris Tung, Alibaba's chief marketing officer.
Tung described AliExpress as "a key part of Alibaba Group's globalisation strategy".
Launched in 2010, AliExpress claim to have become the number one shopping platform in Russia as early as 2014.
For the IOC, Timo Lumme, managing director of television and marketing services, said he was "very pleased that Alibaba is engaging with our Youth Olympic fans through a dedicated AliExpress platform".
Alibaba joined the TOP programme in 2017 as official cloud services and e-commerce platform services partner through to 2028, which includes the next three Summer Olympics and Paralympics, starting with Tokyo 2020.
Addressing a launch event in Lausanne's trendy Flon district where journalists were seated in padded leather couches and armchairs, and contributions were at times punctuated by loud bursts from the Lausanne 2020 medal plaza sound system, Tung said: "We want to use Tokyo 2020 as an opportunity to show how we support the young generation with the power of technology to help them see what is possible in the future."
Alibaba had, he added, been founded 20 years ago and "supporting youth with technology has been rooted deeply in our mission from day one".
AliExpress also announced it was teaming up with sellers on its platform to support a programme created by the African Swimming Confederation to teach young Africans to swim.
Outlining the programme, Sam Ramsamy, now an honorary IOC member from South Africa, said that more than 360,000 people were thought to drown worldwide each year, excluding incidents such as ferry accidents.
Most of those who drowned were young boys and girls.