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Alibaba taps David Beckham as global brand ambassador for international e-commerce platform ahead of Euro 2024

Alibaba Group Holding's global shopping platform AliExpress has signed up English football star David Beckham as its global brand ambassador, as the Chinese e-commerce giant strengthened efforts to boost its international business amid intensifying competition with PDD Holdings' Temu.

Under the one-year partnership announced by AliExpress on Monday, Beckham will be featured in a series of promotional campaigns on television, internet, social media and traditional media, starting with TV commercials during the European Football Championship, or Euro 2024, which kicks off on June 14.

AliExpress is a sponsor of this year's event. Alibaba is the owner of the South China Morning Post.

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The move comes after Alibaba's rival Temu, a budget shopping platform that has been gaining popularity in the international market, splashed millions of dollars on commercials during the past two Super Bowl games, the annual championship of the US National Football League that is one of the most expensive nights to place ads.

Alibaba's AliExpress is a sponsor of Euro 2024. Photo: AP Photo alt=Alibaba's AliExpress is a sponsor of Euro 2024. Photo: AP Photo>

Temu entered the European market last year, starting with France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK, touting a wide selection of budget-priced items.

AliExpress' Euro 2024 campaign will involve a giveaway of millions of euros worth of coupons, as well as free tickets to matches, the platform said.

Its partnership with Beckham "makes a lot of sense" as he "is a global sports and lifestyle icon" and "will help AliExpress users get closer to the action throughout the tournament", said Gary Topp, European commercial director at AliExpress.

Europe is one of Alibaba's key targets for the e-commerce segment. The company currently offers five-day online-shopping delivery in Germany, France and Portugal, in addition to the US, Mexico and Saudi Arabia, supported by Alibaba's smart logistics network Cainiao.

The European Championship, which takes place every four years, is the world's most watched football tournament after the World Cup. Euro 2020 accumulated 5.2 billion global views during live matches, according to the Union of European Football Associations, the organiser.

AliExpress has emerged as a key driver of Alibaba's e-commerce business. The site's revenue in the March quarter surged 45 per cent to reach 27.4 billion yuan (US$3.81 billion), driven largely by its premium service Choice, according to the company's latest financial statement.

Combined orders on Alibaba's international marketplaces in the quarter rose 20 per cent year on year, the report showed.

As part of its global marketing push, AliExpress has also tapped Chinese actress Tang Wei as its regional brand endorser in South Korea, which has a rapidly growing e-commerce market.

The platform also recently rolled out new subsidies to entice more Chinese brands and merchants to sell overseas via AliExpress, as well as Alibaba's other online shopping channels including Lazada in Southeast Asia, Daraz in South Asia, Miravia in Spain, and Trendyol in Turkey.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2024 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2024. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.