Alibaba Group announced something interesting today. The company has reached partnership with China Meteorological Administration to analyse the weather data collected through the latter, hoping to help with online sales on its marketplaces and package delivery with analytic results of historical data and forecasts.

The annual weather data collected by China’s state-owned meteorological administration are in PBs (1PB=1024TB), thousands of times of that in 1990’s. Alibaba offers to store and process those data.

Although it sounds more like a marketing campaign for Aliyun, the Cloud platform ran by Alibaba, it seems possible, as the company claims, the analytic results can be used for boosting sales of some items at certain times of a year on Taobao & Tmall marketplaces; for instance, retailers of masks may expect higher sales volumes in times when heavy haze days are more likely to happen, and winter or coat sellers may expect sales based on weather forecasts.

Alibaba said they’d develop indexes for some categories such certain types of clothes so as to predict sales.

The company will also offer weather services through Cainiao, a massive logistics business Alibaba has 48% stake in, to inform logistics companies and delivery men in advance.

The company said they’d offer historical data and forecasts to insurance companies too.


Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at

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