The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has so far infected thousands and killed hundreds in China. To help the country combat the epidemic, Alibaba Group has launched a global B2B sourcing platform for medical goods suppliers and medical personnel.
The Alibaba Global Direct Sourcing Platform allows Alibaba Group to leverage its digital technology and expertise in its use of an RMB1 billion fund the company established on 25 January. The fund has been used to purchase vital medical supplies within and outside China to support medical personnel in Wuhan and other locations badly affected by the virus.
The platform serves as an information bridge for suppliers of all sizes, including large wholesalers, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. It allows Alibaba to post specifications for items, including type, model, and quantity, based on information collected from hospitals and local authorities.
Once verified, suppliers can offer certified goods so that Alibaba can begin the procurement process. Goods purchased through the platform will be sent to hospitals based on urgency and priority.
As of 3 February, Alibaba states that it has delivered medical supplies sourced from 15 countries and regions, including self-purchased and donated goods, to 18 hospitals in Hubei, Zhejiang, and Anhui provinces.
Though the outbreak has been kept under relative control so far abroad, reports show that despite is enforcement measures, China is in the midst of a large-scale and increasingly costly epidemic. According to the most recent live update by the New York Times, the total number of deaths in China has risen to at least 636, with the total number of confirmed infections hitting 31,161. It is likely that alongside Alibaba, other major Chinese brands will not only want to assist the nation's plight with similar CSR schemes.
At the time of writing, Hong Kong is currently reporting 17 cases of Wuhan coronavirus with one death resulting from the illness.