Taobao launches initiatives to help people with disabilities

May 17, 2022 0 Comments

In the wake of China’s National Disability Day, the online shopping platform Taobao launched innovative initiatives to make lives easier for people with disabilities.

Taobao, China’s biggest online shopping platform, joined hands with China Disabled Persons’ Federation and China Foundation for Disabled Persons, and offered a special function in its live stream rooms on May 13. AI sign language translators were applied in over 20 Taobao livestream rooms via split-screen view, allowing people who are hard of hearing to finally understand the product introductions and discounts.

Virtual sign language hosts livestream alongside real human hosts on Taobao.

There are currently nearly 30 million hearing-impaired people in China. However, limited by the number of sign language hosts, many video programs currently lack sign language content. “We hope that we can improve the internet accessibility for people with disabilities through the application of new technologies, so that they can enjoy the convenience of online shopping, and also establish their own businesses through e-commerce, live broadcast, and other means,” says a representative of Taobao Livestream, adding that in the future, they will continue to improve AI sign language interpretation and other technical products and apply them to more Taobao live streams.

Since 2016, China Disabled Persons’ Federation and Alibaba, Taobao’s parent company, have jointly launched the “Taobao Entrepreneurship Public Welfare Channel” and “Taobao Cloud Customer Service” to help disadvantaged groups and people with disabilities to realize online employment and entrepreneurship. These programs have been implemented nationwide, according to Taobao.

In addition, in order to promote more people with disabilities to achieve flexible employment and entrepreneurship in e-commerce platforms, Taobao launched the first “Disabled Business Operation Plan”, establishing a business community for disabled people, providing customized training services for them to open stores in Taobao. The training program provides help from five aspects, including operation, store analysis, education, employment counseling, and community activities.

Cover image by Rod Long on Unsplash

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