09 Jun 2021
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Alibaba Cloud 2021: e-commerce live streaming solution unveiled, plus $1b investment in APAC SMBs

At Alibaba Cloud Summit 2021, the company has unveiled a major project to support Asia Pacific SMBs, as well as a new live streaming e-commerce service and its long term plans for investment in the APAC region.

$1b investment in APAC SMBs

Alibaba Cloud is pouring US$1 billion into a new project to support technology startups in Asia Pacific over the next three years.

Project AsiaForward aims to help grow 100,000 technology small- and medium-sized businesses in the region and empower developers.

It includes three core programs: DigiTalents Forward (digital upskilling), AI Forward (for developers) and DigiEntrepreneurs Forward (to help businesses connect with VC and opportunities).

Furthermore, Alibaba Cloud and Singapore’s School of Computer Science and Engineering (SCSE), and NTU-Alibaba Singapore Joint Research Institute (JRI) at Nanyang Technological University. The parties are planning to launch a variety of AI courses under NTU’s MiniMasters programme.

According to Alibaba Cloud Intelligence president Jeff Zhang, technology and innovation are crucial to the world’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these can only be possible with the support of people and talent familiar with digital applications.

Zhang comments, “We are seeing strong demand for cloud-native technologies in emerging verticals across the region, from e-commerce and logistics platforms to FinTech and online entertainment. 

“We are committed to bettering the region’s cloud ecosystem and enhancing its digital infrastructure. Our focus on innovation and data center investments, as well as talent development, is in anticipation of a digital-first future.”

Alibaba Cloud states that Project AsiaForward forms part of its strategy to invest in infrastructure, innovation and talent to contribute to economic growth.

Alibaba Cloud backs e-commerce live streaming

At the summit, the company also announced an e-commerce live streaming solution to help merchants create live and interactive channels for online shoppers.

The solution is built on Alibaba Cloud’s content delivery networks and delivers real-time video processing technology to provide uninterrupted live streaming with low bandwidth costs. 

Applications include virtual sales sessions, including live stream replays, product video showcases embedded into live streaming windows and real-time subtitle translation for cross-border live streams. 

The solution also supports end-to-end and device-to-cloud live streaming, making it easier for smaller merchants to launch their own sales sessions.

Alibaba Cloud commits to long term APAC growth

Alibaba Cloud is working on technology infrastructure builds in several Asia Pacific countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

In Malaysia, for example, the company will construct its first international innovation center in partnership with Handsprofit. The center will provide ‘innovation enablement’ for small- and medium-sized enterprises, developers, and startups in Malaysia.

In Indonesia and the Philippines, Alibaba Cloud is also building data centers. The Indonesia data center will provide services across data analytics, database, machine learning, network, and security services. The Philippines data center will be Alibaba Cloud’s first facility in the country. It will provide Elastic Compute Service (ECS), database, global network solution, Content Delivery Network (CDN) and storage services.

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