Tmall launches 3D virtual world ahead of Asian Games

With the 19th Asian Games fast approaching, Chinese tech giants are leveraging the event to create new user experiences and drive engagement. In honour of the upcoming event, Chinese e-commerce giant Tmall has rolled out an interactive 3D world as part of the 30-day countdown to the Games.

Found on Tmall’s mobile app, this immersive digital space allows users to participate in various 3D sports experiences, from rowing at Yanggongdi to track and field at Beishan Street. Completing tasks within the 3D world can unlock rewards, including Asian Games tickets and red envelopes with money.

Tmall’s focus on interactive online experiences stems from its commitment to 3D technology, recently announced at Alibaba’s “U Design Week 2023”. The company revealed plans to rebrand its self-operated e-commerce platform as “Mao Xiang”, an open virtual world that merges 3D shopping, entertainment, cultural tourism, and interactive elements, providing new opportunities for brand merchants to engage users.

However, Tmall is not the only one tapping into the hype surrounding the forthcoming Asian Games. Short video giant Douyin has secured exclusive rights to live-stream the games, set to take place from September 23 to October 8, 2023. In collaboration with China Central Television (CCTV), Douyin will serve as an official broadcaster and live stream partner, providing access to live and replayed games on its platform. Douyin’s acquisition is anticipated to significantly boost its user traffic, which already boasts over 900 million monthly active users as of April 2023.

Both platforms are currently riding a wave of increased interest in digital sports engagement. According to the 51st Statistical Report on Internet Development in China, the country had 751 million online live-streaming users as of December 2022, with 373 million specifically tuning in for sports. These figures underscore the vast market for sports-related content and the importance of major events like the Asian Games in the strategies of tech companies.

All in all, these moves by Tmall (as well as Douyin) highlight the strategic importance of the Asian Games in the digital initiatives of China’s largest companies. As the battle for content and user engagement heats up, the Asian Games offer a unique opportunity for brands of varying industries to capitalise on China’s rising interest in digital sports engagement.


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