Alibaba launches nine cloud products, paving way for new retail global expansion

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Alibaba’s cloud computing arm Alibaba Cloud today launched a new suite of nine product offerings for the global market in a number of inter-related industries of cloud architecture, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT) and security.

“These products will meet the needs of the retail industry in the region who are looking to digitize their operations under the New Retail concept that marks the seamless integration of online and offline,” said the company in an official announcement.

Alibaba Cloud also rolled out an ASEAN Partner Alliance Programme, which aspires to develop a sustainable ecosystem to empower more technology vendors, service providers, system integrators, independent software vendors and start-ups to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives. The program aims to recruit 150 solution partners and to train 600 sales and technology personnel in the next 12 months.

The cloud services launched today are now primarily focused on the Asia Pacific, a launchpad market for most Chinese services that aspire to go global. “These products all have specific features that meet an identified need within the flourishing retail market in Asia Pacific region. Using these products will help merchants deploy their resources more effectively, and gain deeper consumer insights,” said Derek Wang, Chief Solution Architect, Alibaba Cloud International.

In a parallel effort to tap the region, the company launched the second Availability Zone and the first cloud-based Anti-DDoS Scrubbing Center in Malaysia last month.

The New Retail model has emerged across China in ways that promise big gains for consumer product companies. But like many other internet-related trends, it wouldn’t record such a quick boom without the support of matured infrastructures in the country. Alibaba’s move could be translated as its first step in bringing the New Retail concept to the world.

In relation to data technology and AI, Alibaba Cloud is launching two key products – Data Lake Analytics is a serverless service for customers to turn their cloud storage data into insights; PAI is a proprietary machine learning platform that enables customers with limited AI background easy access to Alibaba Cloud’s AI capabilities. With the support of these two services, retailers can analyze historical inventory and sales data, and recommend the most suitable recommendations based on user preferences. IoT Platform links all the software and hardware in the shop for a smooth shopping experience.

To prevent retailers from data loss, Alibaba Cloud launched Anti-Bot Service, which is a software solution that protects users from online scalpers and crawlers. Hybrid Backup Recovery is an online backup service to protect critical business data while Dedicated Host provides tailored hosting service either due to regulatory requirements or a higher demand for stability.

In partnership with China Unicom Global, Alibaba Cloud is launching Smart Access Gateway that supports a multiple location enterprise network. Others are Apsara Stack, the next generation hybrid cloud solutions, delivered in collaboration with HPE, and Elasticsearch, which is an open source tool developed by Elastic and available on Alibaba Cloud.