This week, Alibaba Group logistics platform Cainiao Network unveiled its winning formula for smart warehouses for enterprises.
In other news, research published this week by Alibaba suggests a vast untapped export market awaiting UK SMEs willing to put in the (paper)work.
Businesses in South Korea also received good news this week with the launch of Alibaba Cloud’s first data center in the country.
Cainiao Launches Enterprise Smart Warehouses
Cainiao announced the launch of smart warehouses for enterprises this week to accelerate digitalization and mitigate pandemic-related supply-chain disruption.
Globally, the smart warehousing market size will almost double in the next four years, from $14.8 billion in 2021 to $25.4 billion by 2026, according to a study by ReportLinker.com.
“With the successful digitalization of our supply chain processes, we want to bring that know-how to the rest of the world to safeguard operational efficiencies of cross-border e-commerce logistics,” said Dr. Ding Hongwei, General Manager, Cainiao Technology.
The new solution will see Cainiao act as a consultant on everything from hardware installation to intelligent operations platform development, with the ultimate aim to improve workflow and efficiency.
In Cainiao’s first overseas partnership with Thai e-commerce logistics company Flash Express, a 20,000 square meters host facility was built with 100 AGVs (automated guided vehicles) used within 5,000 square meters.
Here, Cainiao’s technology reduced the distance warehouse employees needed to travel by 90%. The platform has also helped workers reach an overall accuracy of 99% in sortation and parcel handling.
Alibaba Report Reveals Export Opportunity for UK SMEs
Now is the time for the United Kingdom’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to extend their reach into new markets, a survey of 2,000 business owners released this week by Alibaba shows.
Nearly a fifth of UK businesses do not export and this rises to one-third among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the report noted.
“There is a huge opportunity for firms to export into new markets and increase their customer base, leveraging the quality and heritage of ‘Brand Britain’,” said Roland Palmer, Alibaba Group general manager for the UK, Netherlands, Nordics & Belgium, in a statement.
The most common barriers to exporting were increased paperwork and supply chain issues, but the current financial state of local markets will push many businesses to overcome these hurdles.
“When it comes to recovering ground lost during the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented challenges of the past two years, maximizing export potential is key,” said Palmer.
Online platforms are vital to this effort, as 68% of respondents identified digital marketplaces as key components of their export strategy. This figure rose to 71% among B2B export businesses.
Alibaba Cloud Launches Data Center in South Korea
Alibaba’s cloud computing arm announced this week the opening of its first data center in South Korea, the latest move in a regional expansion plan.
The development gives Korean enterprises and SMEs complete access to cloud products and services, from cloud storage and security to AI services. Businesses who join up in April will also receive part of a $1 million pool of credits for Alibaba Cloud services.
“Through the launch of the data center, we will continue to enable Korean customers with the latest cloud-based technologies and solutions to succeed in their digital journey,” said Unique Song, Regional Manager of Japan & South Korea, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.
Building up a domestic workforce trained in this specialized field is the next task.
“With our latest facility in Korea, Alibaba Cloud aims to train at least 2,000 IT professionals in this fiscal year, so the shortage of talents doesn’t hinder the innovation of our customers,” said Stone Ni, country lead for the platform’s operations in South Korea.
Augmented Reality Startup Nreal Raises $60 Mln From Investors Led By Alibaba
Nreal, an augmented reality (AR) glasses maker, announced it had raised $60 million in a funding drive led by Alibaba this week as it looks to bring a new reality to consumers.
“We’ve hit another milestone,” said Nreal in a tweet on Wednesday from its corporate account.
AR provides an immersive customer experience by bringing simulated objects into the user’s world with the help of three-dimensional graphics and audio.
The company said it would use the additional capital from its latest fundraising to boost research & development, expand into new markets and build partnerships to create more content for users.
The global 3D interactive and immersive environment, or metaverse, will hit a valuation of $678.8 billion by 2030, according to consultants at ResearchAndMarkets.com, spurred by the fast-growing AR and VR industries.
Nreal has established partnerships with more than 10 carriers and entered six countries, according to its website.
Explore the possibilities of AR here
Alibaba, Partners Protected Entrepreneurs’ IP Rights In Fast-Changing Digital Economy: 2021 Report
Alibaba and its partners cracked down on copyright-infringing listings and bad actors last year, a report released this week details.
The e-commerce giant took down gangs, from movie pirates to counterfeiting rings, by deploying new technology and strengthening collaboration with key stakeholders, according to the group’s annual report on IPR protection released Thursday.
“There are evolving and complex challenges we have been addressing together, including improving book and film copyright protection, geographical indications, and cracking down on new types of counterfeiting,” said Jessie Zheng, Alibaba Group’s Chief Risk Officer.
Read more here