The Alibaba News Roundup is a weekly digest of events and happenings across the company. This week’s coverage looks at how Alibaba Cloud is growing its infrastructure in a bid to help businesses embrace digital technology and recover from coronavirus-related disruptions. We also look at donations made by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation to help stem the pandemic.
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Alibaba Group on Monday announced that it would invest an additional RMB200 billion ($28 billion) into its cloud-computing division over the next three years. The money will be used to expand Alibaba Cloud’s technologies such as operating systems, servers, chips and networks.
Alibaba Cloud Intelligence President Jeff Zhang said that the investment was prompted in part by the Covid-19 pandemic. “By increasing our investment on cloud infrastructure and fundamental technologies, we hope to continue providing world-class, trusted computing resources to help businesses speed up the recovery process, and offer cloud-based intelligent solutions to support their digital transformation in the post-pandemic world,” he said.
Ranked by Gartner as the number-one public cloud-service provider in Asia Pacific – and the third in the world – Alibaba Cloud this week also launched a Global SME Enablement Program, offering more than $30 million in cloud-technology support to small and medium-sized enterprises impacted by Covid-19. Between now and June 22, new customers can apply for coupon packages that cover 12 core products, ranging from an enterprise-grade cloud email solution and encrypted data storage service to professional online training courses. Coupons would also be available to existing customers looking to expand or upgrade their services.
The Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation pledged to donate 100 million face masks, 1 million N95 masks and 1 million test kits to the World Health Organization as part of their ongoing efforts to combat Covid-19. The supplies will be distributed by the United Nations’ health agency to countries and regions impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this week, the foundations also announced that a third round of medical supplies would be donated to Africa through the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union.
Alibaba Group’s technology-driven grocery chain, Freshippo, this week opened its flagship store on the company’s B2C e-commerce platform Tmall. Originally launched as a New Retail supermarket in 2016, Freshippo has since grown into a multi-format brand that encompasses everything from takeaway breakfast stations to a full-fledged shopping mall. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Freshippo has been working with farmers across the country to ensure that consumers can still have access to fresh, nutritious produce. The new Tmall store represents another boost to the brand’s reach and capabilities, allowing it to connect with the 700 million annual active consumers on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms in China. According to Freshippo, its online store can provide next-day, nationwide deliveries of high-quality food products, including seasonal fruits and vegetables cultivated in Alibaba’s digitally enabled agricultural bases.