Alibaba’s online marketplace Taobao has rolled out an updated version of its ecommerce app that specifically caters to older shoppers.

The new channel on its shopping platform – Taobao For Elders – targets China’s ageing population and their families.

The ecommerce giant has made the end-to-end shopping experience more accessible to retirees by simplifying the registration process, offering personalised recommendations and improving the after-sales service.

It has also introduced a peer-to-peer chat function, allowing shoppers to share products and ideas, as well as a ‘Pay for me’ option to pay for another person’s purchases.

The move forms part of Taobao’s ambitions to refine its services based on different consumer groups.

The channel’s head of development Ding Jian said: “We want Taobao to become a bridge – one that helps them strengthen relationships with the younger generation, brings them closer together.”

Product manager Zhang Xiaoyu added that the new channel transforms Taobao from “a tool for individuals” to a more social “shopping destination for our relatives, partners and children”.

The channel comes as an ageing Chinese population hastens the rise of the so-called ‘silver economy’.

According to China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, the number of people over 60 years old is expected to increase from 230 million in 2016 to more than 255 million by 2020 – representing 16.7% of the country’s overall population.

Alibaba said that more than 30 million Taobao users are aged over 50.