Alibaba Plays with Mattel

The partnership will also see the use of Alibaba’s A.I. Lab to develop tech-driven, child development toys.

Mattel and the Alibaba Group have inked a new strategic partnership that will aim to “re-shape the way parents in China think about play.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Alibaba will help Mattel meet the growing and changing needs of Chinese consumers with an omni-channel approach spanning online-to-offline. Mattel will also utilize Alibaba’s business-to-consumer marketplace Tmall.com to market and sell its products as well as leverage the company’s media ecosystem to develop and promote educational content inspired by its brands and characters.

"Play has a tremendous impact on a child's cognitive, social and emotional growth," says Margo Georgiadis, chief executive officer, Mattel. "By combining Mattel's unmatched expertise in childhood learning and development, with Alibaba's immense reach and unique consumer insights, our goal is to help parents in China raise children to be their personal best. The multi-billion dollar toy category in China is highly fragmented, with tremendous potential for growth. Working with Alibaba, we see a terrific opportunity to develop and lead the category.”

Additionally, Mattel will work with Alibaba’s A.I. Lab to develop a series of new and innovative products to aid child development through technology and smart, interactive learning.

"Alibaba empowers leading global brands to digitally transform their businesses and address the fast-changing Chinese consumer landscape," says Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer, Alibaba Group. "We look forward to supporting Mattel's growth through our robust data and commerce technology infrastructure, which will help to elevate their overall business from product development to brand-building to rural penetration for this unique and massive market."

Mattel and Alibaba will begin product development immediately, with initial merchandise set for mid-2017.

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