Alibaba Group is joining the fight against the deadly coronavirus outbreak with a new platform that helps connect regions in need to medical supplies like face masks and respirators as global shortages of the essential items continue.
The platform was started earlier this month and was designed to connect medical suppliers with buyers like hospitals located in areas of China that have been hit hardest by the virus. In an open letter, Alibaba urged suppliers to partner with them to provide and transport essential items including respirators, face masks, protective suits, thermometers, disinfectant, and gloves.
“Thanks to you and the goodwill of others around the world, Alibaba Group are continuously sending medical supplies, including masks and protective suits, to medical personnel in Wuhan, Wenzhou and Hangzhou, which are at the center of the outbreak and in the most need,” the letter reads. “We are grateful. And we need more help.”
In an effort to prevent knockoffs and counterfeits, Alibaba has listed specifications for each item “including types, models, and product quantities,” and is vetting each supplier through a careful verification system, according to Alibaba’s press site, Alizila.
“We are committed to ensuring information on the platform is accurate and transparent and we will connect with global suppliers promptly and efficiently,” the letter continues. “This is our pledge: No matter where your goods are, we will deliver them to frontline medical personnel in the fastest and safest ways.”
Alibaba is covering purchases of the supplies and overseeing shipping logistics using a fund of more than $140 million established on January 25 to fight the coronavirus. According to Alizila, as of February 3, the company had delivered self-purchased and donated medical items from 15 countries to 18 hospitals in the provinces of Hubei, Zhejiang, and Anhui.