The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Alibaba founder Jack Ma announced on Thursday a partnership in which the organisers of the Olympic Games will rely on the Chinese e-commerce titan for a digital upgrade.
The partnership was announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, by Ma and IOC President Thomas Bach, who said the plan would give the Olympics a more modern face that would carry the IOC "into the digital age".
"This is to engage better with a younger generation... (by) using the different digital platforms to motivate young people to play sports," Bach told journalists at the Davos talk-fest.
"We want to get the couch potatoes off the couch," he added. In the deal, Ma's Alibaba will provide digital technology, including cloud computing, to the IOC, which will become better prepared against cyber attacks, a statement said.
Alibaba would also open up its hugely popular shopping website to the IOC to sell officially licensed Olympic products, despite worries worldwide about the massive presence of counterfeits on the company's platforms.
"Alibaba's partnership with the IOC is built on a foundation of shared values and a common vision for connecting the world and enriching people's lives," Ma said. "We are always looking for partners and finding ways to empower them," he added.
Ma dismissed allegations that his company was doing too little to fight counterfeit products. "Anything that happens in the real world, happens in the virtual world. Governing and managing a world like that is not easy," Ma said.
But he added: "We have 2,000 people devoted to the problem, the largest counterfeit-fighting team in the world." (AFP)