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Alibaba Preps To Launch A/NZ Cloud Computing Service

China’s Alibaba group, which opened an Australian presence earlier this year, appears to be planning a major expansion of its cloud services into the Australian market. The company has booked a media event in Sydney for next Monday, November 28, to be attended by some of its senior executives: Simon Hu, China-based president of Alibaba Cloud; Sicheng Yu, GM of Alibaba Cloud Global; and Maggie Zhou, MD of Alibaba A/NZ.

Purpose of the press briefing is to “outline the strategic direction for Alibaba Cloud in Australia”, according to an invitation to Monday’s event, e-mailed to media yesterday.

Alibaba’s interest in the Australian market has been growing this year. Maggie Zhou, who was put in charge of Alibaba A/NZ but has been based primarily in Hangzhou, has recently announced plans for an office in Melbourne.

In early September PM Malcolm Turnbull met Alibaba chairman Jack Ma in China, and the two, along with Austrade, inked a “strategic collaboration” agreement to expand the number of Australian products available for sale through Alibaba’s online shopping platforms. That appear to have been working, with many Australian companies offering goods on Alibaba’s “Singles” event on November 11.

The move into the cloud market, dominated by the likes of Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, is a relatively recent departure.

Alibaba’s cloud computing arm is claimed to have 650,000 paying customers, with revenue of US$224 million. Currently more than half of AliCloud’s paying clients are said to be “Chinese unicorn companies”, those valued at US$1 billion or more.

Analysts say Alibaba’s cloud computing products – which recently had price cuts of up to 50 percent – should become a major new driver for Alibaba worldwide – though it faces some difficulties in the USA, where Microsoft and Amazon dominate – and where the Chinese company is said to be under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

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