You may know Taobao as the go-to place for anything you can think of, but did you know that they are also a strong advocate for young entrepreneurs?
Taobao has long been a magnet for enterprising young people who are selling their own original products because of the relative ease in setting up an online store on the shopping platform. However, Taobao didn’t just stop there. They launched the annual Taobao Maker Festival in 2016, a mega event where selected Taobao merchants can connect and share their innovative products with consumers in person.
The festival has evolved into an influential and inspiring creative festival over the years, with the 2019 edition showcasing more than 1,000 new and innovative products in two different venues in Hangzhou, China over two weeks, along with an outdoor fashion show featuring avant-garde designs.
Taobao Maker Festival is going virtual and on the road for the first time
True to its spirit of promoting innovation, this year’s fifth edition of Taobao Maker Festival was carried out in an entirely new format. Firstly, the festival moved online as a virtual exhibition. Visitors could visit a six-themed online pavilion to browse the products and learn about the Taobao makers’ stories using their own unique avatar supported by Taobao Life, a 3D avatar-based virtual world. And they also had a chance to get up-close-and-personal with celebrities by interacting with their virtual figures!
Next, instead of visitors going down to Hangzhou, where the festival has traditionally been held, the festival has come to meet Taobao Maker Festival fans in four Chinese cities—Hangzhou, Chengdu, Xi’an and Wuhan. During the 20-day road trip, which is going on now, select merchants travel in a large truck which is converted into mobile storefronts displaying their wares. Customers can also take part in mini offline events that draw on each city’s unique culture and heritage.
Showing its commitment to champion the youths, Taobao has launched a new maker rating system to provide year-long brand exposure and marketing resources to young entrepreneurs. A panel of judges made up of industry experts will review merchants who participated in Taobao Maker Festival and rate them according to four tiers. Selected merchants will be rewarded with digital badges and their products will be included in the personalized product recommendation feature “Good Find” section on Taobao, enhancing visibility to consumers.
They’re bringing Taobao Maker Festival to Singapore
This year, Taobao has brought Taobao Maker Festival to Singapore for the first time in partnership with *SCAPE Singapore and the National Youth Council. The extension features two local collaborations to highlight local Singaporean youths as innovators and trailblazers.
The first collaboration was a smart Skateboard Showcase featuring a local skateboarder demonstrating how to navigate a patented smart Skateboard from Taobao at *SCAPE’s own skateboard park. For the second collaboration, a Chinese qipao designer 金文聪 (Jin Wen Chong) and a Singaporean photographer teamed up to do a photoshoot of the qipao designs modelled against the backdrop of iconic Singapore landmarks.
Wonder what kind of exciting products you can find at Taobao Maker Festival this year? Check out these three unique stores who are part of the lineup of around 150 merchants taking part in the festival this year.