Alibaba Cloud invests $283m to power global partner innovations

At a time when industries the world over are cutting back on spending, investments in cloud computing from businesses looking to remain viable during the coronavirus pandemic was one of the few bright spots.

With more consumers driving data demand from home for the likes of videoconferencing and streaming needs, the need for public cloud services was also on the increase, and were beneficial for SMEs in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region to scale up with agile and fast deployment of digital services across their businesses.

As customers relied more on cloud offerings, the prominent service providers like Alibaba Cloud Intelligence have also been giving back, and now Alibaba Cloud will be investing 2 billion yuan (US$283 million) in 2020 to accelerate joint innovations being developed with partners all across the globe.

The company is presently working with nearly 10,000 partners worldwide, providing cloud services to over 350,000 business customers globally. Alibaba Cloud has continued investing in research and development (R&D) efforts, for its collaborators who are integrating their solutions and services within its Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform.

Gartner data shows Alibaba Cloud as the biggest cloud services provider in Asia, and the third biggest globally along with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure. The company’s cloud computing revenue grew 62% year-over-year in the fiscal year 2020 to US$5.651 million, primarily driven by increased revenue contribution from its public cloud and hybrid cloud businesses.

The positive growth at a time of economic uncertainty has contributed towards Alibaba’s investment decisions, as Daniel Zhang, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group, said at the time:

“The pandemic has fundamentally altered consumer behavior and enterprise operations, making digital adoption and transformation a necessity. We are well-positioned and prepared to help large and small businesses across a wide spectrum of industries achieve the digital transformation they need to survive this difficult period and eventually prevail in the ‘new normal’.”

He continued, “By focusing on the long term and investing in value creation for our consumers and business customers, we believe we will emerge from this crisis stronger and be ready to capture more growth in the future.”

Now Alibaba Cloud is making good on some of those assurances, looking to broaden its software vendor, system integrator and managed service provider recruitment programs, so that the cloud arm of the B2B giant can harness their innovation and technical capabilities to enhance its platform offerings, and also aims to introduce enhanced communications processes to improve collaboration efficiency with partners – especially in light of pandemic-related social distancing requirements.

In 2019, Alibaba Cloud helped customers speed up their digital transformation initiatives by delivering over 2,000 hybrid cloud projects, and the cloud company also curated more than 3,000 online training classes with partners, helping customers gain insights from real-world business use cases.

“As Alibaba Cloud continues to expand our product and services offerings, we want to bring even more opportunities to our partners so that we can collaboratively innovate to bring the most up-to-date services to our customers, and generate business success for them,” commented Alibaba Group vice president Lancelot Guo, VP, who is also the GM of Ecosystem and Sales Operations for Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.

This is not the first initiative that Alibaba Cloud has done with its partners since the COVID-19 crisis began, having previously committed a US$30 million cloud technology relief program for SMEs affected by the pandemic. The company had also provided its AI and cloud computing capacities to help the Chinese government study methods to prevent the spread of the disease and to expedite the development of a vaccine.

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