JD.com (NASDAQ: JD), one of the largest online retailers and marketplaces in China, is launching a Could-based service for smart hardware today, as we reported earlier. JD launched an app that will be able to control all the smart devices by manufacturers who adopt the communication protocols and sign up to its services. JD has had many Chinese electronics manufacturers on board that include Haier, TCL, Huawei, Lenovo and Haisense.

We heard a while ago that Aliyun, the division for Cloud services of Alibaba Group, was developing services similar to those offered by JD+, an initiative to support smart hardware makers and their products which is referred to by JD as an incubation program. Today Aliyun showed us this website which is called Ali-Internet-of-things platform, or Alink.

Similar to JD’s, Alibaba’s offers up its marketing and distribution channels, tech support for app development, and, of course, the Cloud services by Aliyun. What different offerings Alibaba always has include Alipay, one the most popular online payment services in China, and Taobao login system. Alibaba also touts that makers with them will be able to use location data from AutoNavi, the mapping company acquired by Alibaba, and weather data through the partnership with the state weather authority, which are not available with JD.

But what Alibaba has now is only a website, while JD has become one of the first online retail platforms makers from China and overseas would turn to as it has proven ability to help sell products. JD has invested in WiFi solution provider Broadlink and some products to help them grow.

Before this Alink project, Alibaba reached partnership with Chinese home appliances makers such as Midea and TCL who said they’d use Aliyun’s Cloud services.

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com

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