Alibaba aims to sponsor 100,000 influencers through its international online marketplace AliExpress in a bid to drive online spending.

The Chinese ecommerce group has launched a new online platform, AliExpress Connect, which will match up online influencers with brands that sell on its marketplace for marketing tie-ups.

The launch of an influencer network follows the business driving sales through shoppable livestreams on its Tmall platform in China.

Influencers across social platforms including Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook will be able to sign up to the platform and will then be assigned brands or products to make user-generated content for, with greater financial rewards being offered the more tasks they complete.

Alibaba has said the platform has been launched to help influencers “generate new income streams to recover from the global economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

AliExpress general manager Wang Mingqiang said: “As ecommerce continues to grow and ‘shoppertainment’ reshapes the landscape and changes the way people shop online, influencers and content creators are playing a more important role in driving retail transformation and e-commerce success. You see this in livestreaming sales, which have become a great source of job creation and income in China, especially during the Covid-19 crisis, when offline businesses were forced to close, and people had to stay at home.

“AliExpress Connect is designed to create an opportunity for both brands and influencers, as the world moves increasingly toward online shopping. It offers new income sources and job opportunities for influencers and content creators, helping them to scale and digitalize their business. While for brands, it opens up the opportunity to attract new customers.”