Monday, 08 October 2018 11:13

Alibaba Cloud progresses Asia Pacific expansion: report

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Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Chinese Internet and e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, is making good progress in extending its services outside of China in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, a newly published report from analyst firm GlobalData claims.

The report said Alibaba Cloud was poised to close the gap with rivals, and forecast that an “insatiable trend of product launches by cloud providers, riding on the back of increased adoption of cloud services, including artificial intelligence, big data analytics, blockchain and Internet of Things”, would drive the APAC cloud services market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27.7% from US$16.2 billion in 2017 to US$55.2 billion in 2022.

“While global cloud providers — AWS, Google, IBM and Microsoft — have been active in APAC, there are many providers competing for a share of the market. In particular, Alibaba Cloud is a rising cloud provider and a force to be reckoned with,” says Siow Meng Soh, technology analyst at GlobalData.

Soh says Alibaba cloud seeks to establish up to 10,000 partners globally (aspirational) and has partnerships with Vodafone, Singtel, PCCW, Data Pipe, Malaysia’s TIME, Indonet and SK Telecom.

“China has nearly three times the number of Internet users compared to the US, which speaks volumes around its ability to scale. Alibaba Cloud is now betting big on some emerging markets such as India, Malaysia and Indonesia while competing with others in developed markets such as Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Australia.”

Soh notes that, reportedly, Alibaba Cloud has almost 50% of the infrastructure-as-a-service market share in China, and its annual revenue grew 101% in FY2018 to US$2.1 billion.

And, he also noted that the company had a strong presence across various industries in China, including retail, e-commerce, logistics, manufacturing and banking, and offered more than 240 vertical solutions, “which it can potentially roll out globally and works to a DevOps culture and speed”.

GlobalData says Alibaba Cloud is also closing the gap with rivals in terms of products and speed of releases, e.g. Apsara (hybrid/private cloud), PAI (AI), Data Lakes, Link Kit (data management) and ElasticSearch. It is staying ahead of competition with an SD-WAN offer (Smart Access Gateway).

“With the ongoing migration of IT to the cloud, telecom providers and IT service providers have developed a cloud practice to help customers migrate their workloads, implement hybrid cloud and manage multi-cloud environments," said Soh.

"These providers often partner with top players, particularly AWS and Microsoft Azure, to help customers keen to use the public cloud services. Going forward, they need to broaden the list of partners since customers are likely to be using a wider range of cloud services and Alibaba Cloud should be on the list for consideration."

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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