Alibaba has launched a free international collaboration platform based on its enterprise productivity app Dingtalk for medical professionals to share information and advice on prevention and treatment of the Covid-19 outbreak, Alibaba Cloud said on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Information sharing between medical professionals is key to tackling the pandemic, as new hotbeds of infections rise.

  • Alibaba’s move is in line with China’s policy to lend a helping hand in the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping through the globe.

Details: Alibaba’s “Medical Expert Communication Platform” is built on the Hangzhou-based giant’s Dingtalk work collaboration app. It seeks to connect “medical heroes” from around the world to share experience and know-how in the fight against Covid-19, according to a company statement.

  • Users can message instantly and make use of video calls across borders, as well as use Dingtalk’s real-time text translation for 11 languages.
  • As soon as doctors from around the world join the platform, they can talk to top Chinese experts, the company said.
  • Alibaba also compiled a handbook on Covid-19 treatment and prevention, outlining best practices learned from China’s experience. The handbook includes guidelines on hospital practice, staff management, diagnosis, nursing care, rehabilitation of critically ill patients, and more.
  • The handbook is available in English and Chinese and will soon be available in Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean.
  • Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, tweeted from his recently created Twitter account, “I need your help to share this handbook quickly to hospitals, doctors, nurses and anyone who needs to know around the world.”
  • Alibaba’s Cloud division offers computing power tailored for treatment, vaccine development, and epidemic prediction for Covid-19, for a fee.

Context: The Covid-19 epidemic started in China, but is now crippling the healthcare systems in countries including Italy, Iran, and Spain. As of Tuesday, there were more coronavirus cases outside of China than in. Yesterday, China reported only 13 new confirmed cases of the virus,

  • As the pandemic seems to be under control inside China, Beijing has turned its focus to helping other countries, as well as mitigating the risk of imported infections.
  • The Alibaba founder pledged to donate millions of protective face masks and Covid-19 testing kits around the world.
  • Dingtalk saw a surge in daily active users and downloads in February, as Chinese authorities imposed mandatory work-from-home arrangements and millions of students had to download the app to follow online classes.
  • However, Chinese users did not take well to the work and study from home experiment, flooding app stores with negative reviews.

Eliza is TechNode's community listening reporter at the Shanghai office. She acts as a link between the editorial team and TechNode Squared members. She holds a Double MSc in Global Media and Communications... More by Eliza Gkritsi