Displaying items by tag: Alibaba Group

Alibaba and Macau join forces to implement smart city vision

Written on Thursday, 10 August 2017 11:47

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group will contribute its cloud computing capabilities to transform Macau, an autonomous region on the south coast of China, into one of Asia Pacific’s leading smart cities, South China Morning Post reported. Alibaba and Macau signed an agreement on Friday August 4.

The two parties will collaborate in upgrading Macau’s IT infrastructure, by leveraging the technologies of Alibaba Cloud, the group’s cloud computing arm. Improving the city’s IT infrastructure is expected to bring in more digital developments in tourism, transportation, healthcare, governance and talent development.

The partnership will bring various benefits to both residents and tourists in Macau, which will see Alibaba Cloud leverage its experience in deploying smart city projects across mainland China. The tech giant’s expertise in the field include using artificial intelligence to improve road management, air and water transportation, and also customizing guided tours based on data-driven analysis.

The Chinese autonomous region of Macau has built a reputation for gambling similar to Las Vegas in the United States. In fact, Macau is currently the world’s wealthiest gambling hub, with casino revenues topping 23 billion patacas (US$2.86 billion) in July 2017, official data indicates.

“Alibaba Cloud’s big data and deep learning technologies have been helping to build ‘city brains’ in China to help local governments effectively make management decisions,” said Simon Hu, senior vice president of Alibaba Group and president of Alibaba Cloud.

In an interview with South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba, he said, “We are confident about making Macau’s transformation into a smart city a demonstration project across Asia-Pacific region.”

Alibaba’s partnership with Macau will span four years, with the first phase (2017 to 2019) focusing on cloud computing, smart transportation, smart tourism, smart healthcare, smart city governance, and talent acquisition. Training programs will be undertaken by Alibaba to increase Macau’s cloud computing and e-commerce professionals.

The partnership will mark Alibaba’s first smart city project outside mainland China. Macau chose to collaborate with Alibaba to foster the development of cloud computing and big data technologies, said a statement by O Lam, head of the region’s office of the chief executive, after observing how other cities have developed their own smart city visions.

“By leveraging the power of these technologies and connecting resources of different government departments, the project is expected to enhance the model of socio-economic operation in Macau, expediting the city’s transformation into a smart city,” O Lam said.

Alibaba has proven its smart city capabilities, particularly with Hangzhou City Brain, and artificial intelligence-enabled transportation management system, which has enabled traffic speed to increase 11 percent in the city’s Xiahshan district, where the project is being piloted.

China’s No.1 mobile wallet app, Ant Financial, which is an affiliate of Alibaba Group, has made its move to penetrate the South Korean payment platform market with a $200m investment. However, it’s just the latest in a number of significant overseas investments the Chinese company has made in recent months.

Earlier this week it was announced that Ant Financial had agreed a deal to take a stake in a fin-tech company in the Philippines – the details of the deal were not disclosed, but in a joint statement issued to the press at the time it was outlined that the Chinese web giants would be taking a ‘substantial minority interest’ in Globe Telecom’s Mynt organization.

That deal came just three months after its initial foray into the Southeast Asia market with an investment in Thailand. Now, Ant Financial, which is also a spin-off from Jack Ma’s online shopping empire will invest $200m into South Korea’s Kakao Pay.

Kakao Pay will launch soon and is a subsidiary of messaging app KakaoTalk which will enable people to make cashless payments through their phones for both purchases on the web and in stores. The company was launched in 2010 and has enjoyed great success in South Korea. The chat app is ubiquitous in the country and boasts claims that 97% of the smartphone owners in Korea are active users of the social networking application.

It’s backed up by an array of companion apps, like Kakao Music, Kakao TV, and Kakao Taxi. The upcoming Kakao Pay will be the latest addition. Ant Financial have identified the lucrative potential in Kakao Pay – its own Alipay has over 450 million active users – and is China’s top app for online and in-store payments, and features a whole host of financial services – such as personal investment fund and loans.

Ant’s Korea deal sees Jack Ma’s firm, valued at an estimated US$60 billion ahead of a possible IPO this year, “offer its wide range of digital financial services through Kakao Pay in South Korea,” said the statement.

“South Korea is an important market for Ant Financial in its global expansion, and we see many opportunities in the market for innovative services and growth in mobile payments,” said Douglas Feagin, president of Ant Financial International. South Korea has the world’s highest ownership of smartphones as a percentage of population – 88 percent.

Published in Finance

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, announced that it has expanded its data center in Hong Kong by more than doubling the capacity to address the increasing demand for secure and scalable computing services in Asia Pacific.

As part of Alibaba Cloud's strategy to expand its global network coverage, the expanded Hong Kong data center will meet enterprises' demand for high availability and disaster recovery, along with greater access to diversified service offerings such as data storage and analytics, enterprise-level middleware, and cloud security services.

"Since our entry into Hong Kong in 2014, Alibaba Cloud has become one of the largest public cloud providers in the market in less than two years. More companies have come to realize the importance of changing their traditional IT mind-set to embrace the new data technology," said Mr. Ethan Yu, Vice President of Alibaba Group and General Manager of Alibaba Cloud Global. "We are confident that the expanded data center facility, together with our scalable and secure cloud offering, will better meet the needs of the digital transformation in key local sectors such as hospitality and financial services."

This development marks the company's latest expansion on top of recent data center openings in Germany, Australia, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. To date, Alibaba Cloud has established physical presence in 14 global economic centers including mainland China, Singapore and the United States.

As the gateway to China's economy, Hong Kong has become one of the most popular destinations in Asia Pacific for business expansion and investment. Hong Kong also leads the region in terms of cloud adoption as more and more businesses tap into cloud computing for benefits such as operational efficiency and innovation. The city reached the top in Asia Cloud Computing Association's Cloud Readiness Index 2016.

Since 2014, Alibaba Cloud's Hong Kong team has offered tailored solutions across many sectors, including financial services, retail, hospitality and media. The company also brought advanced cloud security offerings to the market. In August 2016, Alibaba Cloud launched cloud-based Anti-DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) security products together with PCCW Global, the international operating division of HKT, Hong Kong's premier telecommunications service provider. With Anti-DDoS as part of its cloud service, Alibaba Cloud has a proven record of protecting customers against DDoS attacks.

In 2016, Alibaba Cloud became the first Chinese cloud computing company that attained ISO/IEC 20000-1:2011, the latest certification for IT service management standards. It also achieved Singapore Multi-Tier Cloud Security (MTCS) standard Level 3 and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DDS) over the last year.