Online retail platform Alibaba has formed a strategic partnership with local carmaker Lifan Auto in a bid to raise sales of cars through its channels.

Alibaba will promote Lifan Auto's sales during events on dates including June 18, Nov 11 and Dec 12, and Lifan Auto will build a small-sized pure electric car model exclusively for the online platform. The two companies will also cooperate in car financing and after-sales services, according to a joint news release.

The chairman of Lifan Group, Yin Mingshan, said the cooperation with Alibaba would integrate the advantages of both parties, extend the carmaker's value chains and bring innovation to car sales channels.

Wang Licheng, general manager of the Alibaba automotive business unit, said, "Lifan Auto is the first strategic partner with the Alibaba online sales channel." The online platform is seeking to cooperate with more carmakers.

Wang also said passenger car sales on the platform are expected to reach 1m units this year, more than eight times the volume of last year.