SHANGHAI -- Ford Motor and Alibaba Group Holding have signed a deal to explore cooperation in areas such as cloud computing, connectivity and retail which could involve the sale of Ford cars on Alibaba's online retail platform Tmall.
Alibaba's digital marketing-focused Alimama and operating system company AliOS will be among subsidiaries working with Ford under the three-year agreement.
One avenue under consideration is the sale of Ford cars on Tmall, an Alibaba spokeswoman said. Reuters on Wednesday reported that Ford was planning to sign such a deal as it overhauls its China strategy to stimulate growth.
"The agreement aims to explore new ways to redefine how consumers purchase and own vehicles, as well as how to leverage digital channels to identify new retail opportunities," Alibaba said in its statement.
The Chinese e-commerce firm and U.S. automaker will initially "explore a pilot study" for new retail opportunities, Alibaba said.
Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in the statement that collaborating with technology firms builds on the automaker’s vision to make "smart vehicles."
Ford's China sales have been sluggish in recent months as it struggles to keep pace with rapidly changing trends, including increased demand for entry-level cars in smaller cities.
Meanwhile Alibaba is increasing its presence in the automotive sector with Banma Technologies, a partnership with SAIC Motor developing Internet-connected cars.