Chinese online retail giant has unveiled cloud computing products revolving around big data and artificial intelligence in Europe as it seeks to capture a bigger slice of a market that is dominated by Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. Some of the cloud products have already been available in other markets such as China and include e-commerce and cybersecurity tools.
Alibaba Cloud first entered the European market two years ago though its products focusing on big data and artificial intelligence were only launched last year. So far the Chinese tech behemoth has mostly concentrated on offering its services to Chinese clients with operations in Europe but is now targeting a broader customer base.
More data centers
At the moment Alibaba possesses one data center facility on the European continent and this is located in Frankfurt, Germany. According to the Alibaba Cloud Europe general manager, Yeming Wang, the tech titan intends to open new data center facilities in Europe in the future to meet the growing needs. Per Wang the Alibaba Cloud Europe will have a special focus on sectors such as finance, shipping and retail.
“Today, we are talking a lot with local clients about digital transformation including retail, logistics, finance. All are talking about digital transformation,” said Wang.
The cloud unit of Alibaba’s is the company’s fastest-growing business. In last year’s fourth quarter revenues grew by a rate of 104% year-on-year to reach a figure of $570.6 million. The Chinese online retail giant currently boasts of over one million subscribers. Compared to the total revenues of the company, the cloud unit generates about 4%.
Globally Alibaba Cloud is behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In the fourth quarter of last year Amazon Web Services generated approximately $5.11 billion in revenues.
The expansion of Alibaba Cloud in Europe comes in the wake of indications that the two leading online retailers in China, Alibaba and JD.com, are in plans to extend their rivalry to the United States. Recently there were reports that Alibaba had held discussions with grocery retailer Kroger with a view to forming a partnership. Now the chief executive officer of JD, Richard Liu, has disclosed that the e-commerce firm intends to enter the U.S. market later this year and will start by launching a distribution facility in Los Angeles, California.
It is understood that JD.com could form a partnership with Walmart. The largest traditional retailer in the world is already a shareholder in JD.com and the two already have retail partnerships in China.