Alibaba Cloud today announced that it has partnered with the China Hitachi Group, the China subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate, to provide cloud computing services in China.

“This announcement with Hitachi is important for two reasons,” said Ziji Song, Head of Alibaba Cloud North Asia, in an exclusive phone interview with TechNode.

“First, Alibaba Cloud continues to look for partnerships with large multinationals. The previous partners were Accenture and SAP, IT vendors. But now we signed the partnership with a traditional manufacturing company, Hitachi China to enhance our brand,” he said. “Second, it shows our ability to serve big enterprise customers rather than only SMEs and startups. Hitachi’s customers are mainly enterprise customers.”

Traditional enterprises flocking to cloud computing

Many compare Alibaba Cloud with Amazon’s AWS since Alibaba and Amazon are the two biggest e-commerce companies in the world. “We are not competing with other cloud players like AWS. We each have our own strength and the market is large enough for us,” Ziji said.

Ziji rather focused on their new category of clients: Traditional enterprises that need this new technology. “The trend is that cloud companies start to provide their service to SMEs and startups, but after building the momentum, they then get into the traditional enterprise to enhance their capability,” he said.

Data visualization on Alibaba global shopping day (Image Credit: TechNode)

Data visualization during Single’s Day (Image Credit: TechNode)

November 11th global shopping day event last year shows the big success of Alibaba Cloud’s big data-based recommendation engine and data visualization,” Ziji said.

Alibaba Cloud has empowered enterprises in the manufacturing industry to extend their business expertise by building specialized industrial big data solutions and platforms. For example, in 2016, Alibaba Cloud has enabled leading Chinese manufacturer Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group (XCMG) to establish a cloud-based big data platform.

Today, Alibaba Cloud has data centers in 14 locations worldwide, including Japan, mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. (East and West Coasts). It has also announced plans to establish three new data centers in Malaysia, India, and Indonesia.