Alibaba Kicks Off 2021 Global Challenge for Youths


Aspiring youth entrepreneurs in Thailand who are hungry to create game-changing brands for a better world now stand a chance to bring these ideas into fruition.

Alibaba Group’s Global Digital Talent (GDT) program (“Alibaba GDT program”) today announced the launch of the Alibaba GDT Global Challenge 2021, an international entrepreneurial competition encouraging youths around the world to develop digital solutions that address evolving market needs.

This year’s competition will emphasize the power and potential of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted consumers to look online to fulfill shopping needs and highlighted the urgency for businesses to put digital at the forefront of their sales and marketing strategy.

For the first time, competitors will also have the chance to partner with an established manufacturer recommended by the Alibaba GDT program to co-create business solutions. In Thailand, participating manufacturers include 17 traditional companies from various industries such as food & beverage, personal care and appliances that are looking to digitally transform their operations.

The national round of the competition in Thailand, organized in collaboration with Alibaba’s local GDT channel partner CCN Partner has received overwhelming support since registration opened, with sign-ups from more than 20 teams. This includes 17 teams formed by a total of 117 students from Khon Kaen University, one of the member institutions of the Alibaba GDT program.

The top three winning teams from the national finals to be held in November will eventually compete with fellow youths from across 12 markets including China, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States around December.

“The future will be led by our youths of today. We have witnessed so many groundbreaking ideas from our youths in previous editions of this competition, and we are eager to discover even more this year with the help of leading manufacturers. Bringing together the digital savviness of youths and the hard-won experience of the manufacturers means we can better create novel solutions that actually address the needs and preferences of today’s digital-oriented consumers,” said James Song, Secretary General of Alibaba’s Globalization Office.

Last year’s winning innovation in Thailand came from GRA(TI)TUDE – a team of four students from Mahidol University International College. The team created and successfully marketed a new line of crispy potato chips featuring famous local flavors from the city of Hat Yai, in collaboration with six potato farms, at a time when many farmers have been suffering from the impact caused by the pandemic.

Other features of the competition, among others, include exclusive access to training sessions by Alibaba GDT program-certified trainers around building viable brand strategies specific to DTC. These include insights on brand positioning, customer engagement, conducting market research, and digital marketing strategies.

Teams will be judged on their proposal’s depth of consumer insights, innovativeness and social impact, as well as on their overall execution and presentation skills. Global finalists who work with a manufacturer recommended by the competition will receive a marketing budget from the partner. The winner, first runner-up and second runner-up of the global competition will each receive a cash prize of USD20,000, USD10,000 and USD5,000, respectively.

The Alibaba GDT program (then “Alibaba GET program”) was established in 2016 with a mission of promoting digital transformation and inclusive development through digital talent incubation. Through its global training network, the program has to date benefitted 80 education partners and trained more than 1,000 lecturers and over 20,000 students and other participants from Colombia, Mexico, Mongolia, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Rwanda, Singapore and China.

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