E-commerce giant Alibaba Group’s Tmall Club dazzled Darling Harbour last week with the activation of a new pop-up store centred around the significant traditional Chinese occasion of Mid-Autumn Festival.
Held as part of the Alibaba eCommerce Expo taking place at Sydney’s International Convention Centre, the event provided Sydney’s Asian community with an extravagant and memorable Mid-Autumn experience, with showcase installations from renowned Chinese artist Yulong Huang.
Selected as one of “25 Contemporary Chinese Artists You Need to Know” in 2013, Yulong Huang brought his famous sculpture work “Yue Liang” to life at the event’s opening ceremony on September 20, presenting attendees with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the rise of two ‘moons’ over Darling Harbour.
“The Moon Festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival, is one of the most important festivals in China and is an important time for families to be reunited,” said an Alibaba Group spokesperson.
“During this year’s Moon Festival, Alibaba’s Tmall Club is aiming to create a multimedia-based experience for the Chinese community.”
As a feature of Alibaba Group’s E-Commerce Expo, the Tmall pop-up activation of two innovative stores showcased five Chinese household names over the Friday and Saturday nights, on the futurist experience of ‘Future Retail’.
The brands; Bestore, iFlyTek, Midea, Robam, and Joyoung produce popular products for the Chinese community that are often difficult, if not impossible to purchase in Australia. Event-goers revelled in a unique ‘tasting’ experience at Tmall Club’s Virtual Snack Box installation, tailor-created for leading food and snack company Bestore.
Users placed their heads into the multimedia device, where visuals of childhood snacks were instantly projected, culminating in a sensory experience that stimulated sight, smell and sound. From there, audiences were encouraged to visit the Smart Wall installation, tailor created for intelligent speech and language development enterprise, iFlyTek.
In this installation, event goers were immersed in the written word, with projections of different quotes, poems and words displayed on the walls, which, when tapped produce an audible performance of the corresponding text.
Audiences were then taken on a virtual exploration of design and scale, with a third installation subtly designed and constructed to appear as the inside of a real kitchen appliance. By entering the installation, event-goers were not only able to see inside the appliance structure and personally experience the subtle internal designs, but also gain an understanding of the key technological features it boasts.
Mirrors and visuals of different foods lined the walls of the final installation, ‘Food Blender Kaleidoscope’, creating an illusory kaleidoscope effect that allowed participants to feel as though they had walked into a food blender.
The Darling Harbour installation marked the first international exhibition for Alibaba Group’s Tmall Club, despite having previously organised a number of similar events throughout China.
The group’s firm focus on supporting Australian businesses access the China market has seen the list of Australian brands featured on the company’s Tmall and Tmall Global business-to-consumer marketplaces rise to over 2000.
“Australia was chosen due to its importance within Alibaba’s international strategy and as an activity alongside the Alibaba E-Commerce Expo,” the spokesperson said. “‘New Retail’ is a key feature in Alibaba’s strategy. Alibaba believes the online and offline worlds will merge to create a much more seamless experience in Australia. Alibaba’s efforts in ‘New Retail’ are currently is gaining a lot of momentum in China, and the Alibaba E-Commerce Expo and Tmall Club displays give Australian retailers a taste of what the future of retail could look like.”
The Tmall Club pop-up store activation was held in Darling Harbour, Sydney from September 21 – 22 and kicked off with an opening ceremony on Thursday, September 20 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm.