Just three months after opening its first cloud center in the United States, Alibaba has partnered with as many as seven technology giants to strengthen its cloud offerings worldwide. Aliyun, the cloud arm of Alibaba, announced Monday that it had launched a global partnership program called the Marketplace Alliance Program (MAP) to provide businesses access to Aliyun’s full suite of cloud services.
Alibaba to save millions through the partnerships
It has teamed up with Intel, U.S. data center major Equinix, Singapore-based Singtel, Dubai-based Meraas Holdings, Hong Kong telecom major PCCW, French cloud firm LINKBYNET, and Hong Kong-based Towngas. Alibaba said it would localize its cloud offerings by combining its services with experience and expertise of its partners in local markets.
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The deal will also dramatically reduce infrastructure costs for Aliyun, optimize cloud solutions, and improve networking efficiency. Aliyun will use existing data centers built by its partners to offer its own services. It puts Alibaba in direct competition with the U.S. cloud majors Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Google. Simon Hu, President of Aliyun, told CNBC that the move will give small and mid-size businesses the infrastructure they need to exploit the power of data and analytics.
Alibaba faces stiff competition
The U.S. giants show no signs of slowing down. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella aims to increase cloud revenue to $20 billion by 2018. Amazon CTO Werner Vogels said earlier this year that the company’s cloud business could surpass its online retail business within ten years. Aliyun did not reveal pricing of its offerings, though Hu said it would depend on local markets.
Alibaba’s cloud revenue grew 82% YoY to $62.52 million in the March quarter this year. Though cloud accounts for only a small fraction of the Chinese e-commerce giant’s total revenue, it is growing rapidly. The company is currently building a cloud center in Dubai. According to research firm IDC, global cloud spending in 2015 would rise 28% from $26.4 billion in 2014 to $32 billion in 2015.
Alibaba shares rose 0.33% to $91 in pre-market trading Monday.