Chinese online services giant Alibaba is finally expanding its portfolio of cloud services offerings in the international market, with Alibaba Cloud (the data intelligence arm of Alibaba), rolling out over 10 new cloud products that will be available to clients outside China for the first time. The company will be taking on rivals like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Azure for the global cloud market, with India set to be a crucial battleground. Alibaba Cloud is already the largest cloud computing service provider in the Asia Pacific.
These new products include Alibaba Log Service (SLS), Support of “Bring Your Own Key” (BYOK), SaaS Accelerator, Smart Access Gateway (SAG), Container Registry (ACR) Enterprise Edition and Container Service for Kubernetes (ACK).
According to Alibaba executives who spoke during the international roll out in Singapore last week, the company views India as an important market for cloud services.
“India is one of our very important markets. That’s why we already have our data centres in the country. We have a dedicated local office and team there to work with our India partners. We already have Paytm as our customer and we also have other local clients. We think the Indian market is very good with strong technological background. We think we can do more together,” said Alibaba Cloud Intelligence International President Selina Yuan. Henry Zhang, Chief Product Officer, Alibaba Cloud, agreed, “Indian customers are very much on the cutting edge. Some of the largest growing startups such as Paytm and Big Basket are in India”.
India’s cloud services market is one of the fastest growing in the world, with a recent report from the National Association of Software Services Companies (Nasscom) estimating that it will grow three-fold to reach $7.1 billion by 2022. Cloud-related spending by Indian firms in 2018 is already pegged at 6 per cent of total IT spending and is only expected to grow. Alibaba Cloud already has several data centres running in India servicing clients including a host of small, and medium businesses.
With the company launching the “China Gateway Programme” at the summit last week along with eight regional partners, executives say that India will be an important point of focus here too. The programme aims to assist companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), looking to set up and expand their businesses in China. Through local partners, Alibaba Cloud plans to provide firms of varied sizes connections with Chinese companies and consumers via the Alibaba ecosystem.
“I can tell you that we are ready for India. It’s a global programme and we already have 700 SMEs which will benefit from it,” Yuan said.
Alibaba Cloud’s wider international rollout comes even as it has recorded a surge in revenue, which rose 76 per cent to $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019. For the full fiscal year ending 31 March 2019, this figure stood at $3.68 billion, a rise of 84 per cent. The division now accounts for close to seven per cent of Alibaba’s total revenues. However, it has not managed to post a profit, with an EBITDA loss of $168 million. (with inputs from agencies)