A closer look at Alibaba’s cloud computing and AI business

By William Smith
Chinese technology giant Alibaba found success in the ecommerce space with a suite of sights such as the eponymous Alibaba, Taobao and Tmall. One of the...

Chinese technology giant Alibaba found success in the ecommerce space with a suite of sights such as the eponymous Alibaba, Taobao and Tmall. One of the world’s largest companies, it reported its FY19 revenue as being $56.15bn. Since its founding by recently departed leader Jack Ma in 1999, it has extended its remit into a vast array of services including electronic payments and, the focus of our inquiry today, the cloud.

The cloud part of the business, founded in 2009, provides AI and cloud computing services to organisations in over 200 countries. According to Gartner, it is the largest cloud service provider in the entire Asia Pacific region, with a 19.6% market share, while being third largest globally.


"We believe our strong growth and leading market position is a testament to the hard work of our teams and the support of our many customers and partners around the world, to whom we are truly grateful," said Jeff Zhang, president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, when Gartner released its findings last month. 

"We look forward to continuing our work, which enables our global customers and partners to expedite their digital transformation journeys through our scalable, robust and secure infrastructure, advanced analytics capabilities and thriving ecosystem."

The company has also turned its cloud capabilities onto the coronavirus pandemic. Back in March, Alibaba said it was giving medical personnel access to cloud and AI applications useful in the fight against coronavirus, including Dingtalk, an enterprise communication and collaboration platform, and which features real-time AI language translation into 11 languages including Chinese, English, French and Arabic, for cross-border collaboration.

The company’s approach has won it customers including the likes of Ford, KPMG, Air Asia, SAP and it is the ‘Worldwide Cloud Services Partner’ of the Olympic Games, promising to bring to the now postponed 2020 Olympics improved efficiency and security via the use of its products.


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