Alibaba Cloud Opens China Sales Channel for Foreign Tech

Alibaba Cloud, Alibaba Group’s fast-growing cloud-computing subsidiary, is offering international tech companies easier access to the China market with the launch of new online sales platform for cloud-computing solutions.

Called AliLaunch, the platform provides a channel to sell and deploy software and services in China through Alibaba Cloud, which has more than 1.4 million PRC customers and is the country’s largest provider of public cloud services.

“The introduction of AliLaunch demonstrates Alibaba Cloud’s ongoing commitment of building a global cloud computing ecosystem, which connects SaaS developers and business partners from different countries on a unified platform,” said Sicheng Yu, an Alibaba Group vice president and general manager of Alibaba Cloud Global, in a statement. “We are aiming to build AliLaunch as the Tmall of the cloud computing industry,” he said. Tmall is Alibaba Group’s flagship B2C shopping website.

Alibaba Cloud sells a range of cloud-computing solutions the company has developed in-house. To speed the adoption of cloud computing in China and promote its cloud services in overseas markets, the company has been partnering with Western tech companies in order to expand its range of products available from third-party vendors through Alibaba Cloud. For example, in April Alibaba Cloud formed a strategic partnership with SAP, the world’s largest supplier of business management software, to offer in China a range of solutions that operate in the Alibaba Cloud environment.

China’s public cloud market is forecast to more than double to $3.8 billion in 2020 from $1.8 billion in 2015, according to market research company Forrester. In the quarter ended March 31, Alibaba Group reported revenues from its cloud computing and Internet infrastructure business jumped 175 percent year-over-year to $165 million.

China businesses and other organizations are expected to use AliLaunch as an online store offering simplified access to technology partners and solutions, allowing them to deploy software and services in a “convenient and quick way” through Alibaba Cloud, according to the company.

AliLaunch currently lists 11 participating technology partners from the U.S., Europe, Japan and Thailand, including SAP, Hitachi Data Systems, and Check Point Software Technologies, a leading provider of data and communications security products. Software is available through AliLaunch in categories such as operating systems, network infrastructure and databases, among others.

CloudLogoSizedIn conjunction with the debut of AliLaunch, Alibaba Cloud also announced the formation of a global program—called the Global Technology Partners Marketplace—to assist tech companies in building cloud-based software that is hosted by and integrated with Alibaba Cloud’s services.

Together with AliLaunch, the program can help companies overcome common obstacles they face in China “including scalability and technology compatibility,” according to Alibaba Cloud. “The AliLaunch program and Global Technology Partners Marketplace serve as the perfect platforms for making different software products accessible to businesses and organizations in China,” Yu said.

At a company sponsored cloud-computing conference held today in Beijing, Alibaba Cloud also announced a strategic partnership with HTC to explore scalable, cost-effective virtual reality (VR) solutions.

HTC, the Taiwan-based consumer electronics company best known for its smartphones, agreed to work with Alibaba Cloud to develop network and data-processing infrastructure to support emerging VR commercial applications.

According to a press release from Alibaba Cloud, the companies “will focus on developing breakthrough innovative solutions to tackle bandwidth allocation, data transmission and data processing needs in areas such as VR video production, VR broadcasting and VR content sharing.” HTC recently unveiled a VR headset called Vive.

The partnership will also bring together industry developers to build a VR cloud ecosystem, and extend Viveport, HTC’s VR app store, to Alibaba Cloud’s cloud computing platform, according to the release.

The development of VR technology requires powerful and flexible infrastructure support to supply visually rich and interactive content to users, Alibaba Cloud said. Cloud computing can improve efficiency and lower operational costs, the company said.