Largest Taobao Maker Festival To Date Now Under Way In Hangzhou

Taobao Maker Festival
A woman walks in front of the temporary stage where the traditional Chinese opera performance takes place (Photo: Reuters / Ann Wang)

Taobao, the world's largest e-commerce website and the world's seventh most visited website, kicked off its highly awaited Taobao Maker Festival on Thursday in Hangzhou. The event organized by the Alibaba-owned customer-to-customer website showcased a myriad of products that promoted China's evolving culture through technology.

The mega event, which was attended by hundreds of thousands of people from all over China, featured millions of new designer products and goods providing customers the opportunity to physically see and touch the products they would otherwise only see online.

Alibaba's chief marketing officer and the main organizer of this year's Taobao Maker Festival, Chris Tung, mentioned during a media briefing that this year's event will be the "longest, largest, and most diverse" festival since 2015. Tung stated that the event itself is meant to showcase all the site's merchants and their creative products.

The products that will be showcased during the event include goods in various categories such as high tech gadgets, street fashion, cultural heritage products, wearables, toys, health products, and food technologies.

Some of the more unique offerings that will be present during the event include new vegan meats developed by Hong Kong-based firm Green Monday. Other unique demonstrations include a simultaneous translation gadget from HTC and a powered exoskeleton developed by Chinese firm C-Exoskeleton.

Apart from showing and selling their products, the yearly Taobao Maker Festival is apparently also meant to create a close community amongst the sellers. The offline trade show will essentially allow vendors to meet other vendors and share new ideas, concepts, and designs. Vendors can also share with others their stories and their unique entrepreneur experiences.

This year's Taobao Maker Festival will last for two straight weeks ending on September 12.  This is a significant extension given that last year's event only lasted for four days. Apart from the duration, this year's festival is also much larger, held on two separates venues. The event will be taking place simultaneously in Hangzhou's West Lake and in the Hangzhou Boiler Factory.

On top of the more than 1,000 unique products that will be showcased during the event, hundreds of food stalls and gourmet food establishments will be present to serve hungry visitors.

Some of the foods will showcase updated local cultural dishes such as Moutai-flavored ice cream and braised pork prepared by robots. Payments during the event will all be handled by advanced financial technologies such as digital payments and even facial recognition authentication. 

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