Tesla opened a flagship store on B2C marketplace Tmall April 16. The store sells accessories and allows customers to schedule a test drive for RMB 1 ($0.14).

Why it matters: Tesla’s move underscores an emerging trend in China, where automakers are relying more on online channels to boost sales.

  • Chinese automakers and dealers have embraced live-streaming amid store closures.
  • The number of live-streaming shows related to auto sales jumped 15-fold for the first three months of this year, according to a report jointly released Tuesday by Bytedance-backed auto service platform Dcar and the China Automobile Dealers Association.
  • Up to 7,000 live streams are broadcast every day, according to the report.

Read more: Tesla and Nio buck EV sales slump

Details: Tesla and Alibaba on Thursday announced the first batch of car accessories, including cargo mats and tire repair kits, are now available to customers on Tesla’s Tmall store.

  • Users can schedule test drives and renew their home-charging services as well.
  • Customers from 15 Chinese provinces and cities could book test drives in nearby stores in an online campaign called “RMB 1 Test Drive” (our translation).
  • More than 400 orders have been made for test driving China-made Model 3 in just two days, according to our observations.
  • Tesla will begin live-streaming on Tmall starting next week, Alibaba said in an announcement on its official WeChat account (in Chinese).
  • Direct car sales are currently not available on the marketplace.

Context: This is actually the second time Tesla has partnered with Alibaba to expand its reach to the country’s 800 million internet users.

  • Tesla opened its first Tmall flagship store in October 2014, originally planning to create a buzz by joining in Alibaba’s Double 11 shopping extravaganza with 18 imported Model S vehicles.
  • Tesla quietly ended the cooperation with the Chinese e-commerce giant later that year, probably due to opposition from Tesla US headquarters, according to a Chinese media report.

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen