Chinese cloud computing giant Alibaba Cloud, US-based shared workspace operator WeWork, and enterprise consultancy firm Softbank Telecom China announced a strategic partnership on Thursday to launch a service platform to help foreign companies scale in China.

“China Gateway” provides its clients access cloud and data intelligence technologies, cross-border information technology infrastructure, as well as enterprise solutions from Alibaba Cloud. Clients will have access to WeWork’s co-working spaces and networking events in the greater China region.

Softbank Telecom China will provide information technology consulting services. The three partners will also offer go-to-market support, access to Chinese tech communities, and other business services, according to an emailed statement from e-commerce giant Alibaba, which owns Alibaba Cloud.

Christian Lee, vice chairman of WeWork Asia said WeWork was uniquely positioned to assist, having entered the market in 2016 itself. The service is open to all companies with global headquarters outside of mainland China.

For WeWork, which is gearing up for a US IPO, better integration and closer ties with local tech giants like Alibaba may help attract global clients. The service could also aid Alibaba in introducing users to its massive ecosystem that includes e-commerce, entertainment, and fintech.

In April, Alibaba Cloud and WeWork’s accelerator program WeWork Labs set up an incubation program for startups in China. The current partnership could be seen as a continuation of the April program in helping foreign companies to enter China, an Alibaba spokeswoman told TechNode.

The partnership, with participation from SoftBank Telecom China, points to closer ties between WeWork and Alibaba, which both received funding from the Japanese tech investor.

Alibaba and WeWork have been working closely as partners to speed up one another’s globalization initiatives. In 2018, the US company began waiving deposit requirements for customers with scores higher than 1,350 on Sesame Credit, the credit rating system of Alibaba-affiliate Ant Financial.

However, the partnership is not driven by an investor, said the spokeswoman. “There’s no capital operations or joint venture involved in the program. Alibaba Cloud is the largest cloud service in China and WeWork a reputable brand in the co-working industry. It’s a natural step for cooperation between two companies,” (our translation) she said.

Discounts are available for other Alibaba Cloud and WeWork services, such as technology workshops, marketing opportunities with Alibaba Cloud, business travel bookings via WeWork Services Store, as well as training programs and events.

“Together we are committed to supporting global enterprises to connect with digitally savvy Chinese customers,” said Lancelot Guo, vice president of Alibaba Group and general manager of Strategy and Marketing for Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, in the emailed statement.

Clarification: This is to clarify that TechNode is one of the eight partners in supporting Alibaba Cloud’s China Gateway Program. TechNode Singapore, which shares the same parent company of TechNode Media, and Alibaba Cloud are cooperating under the program.  

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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